Mother Angelica’s last gift to us.

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I was watching the solemn mass last night on EWTN held in memory of Mother Angelica. It was beautiful.

The homily was given by a priest very close to mother Angelica who was privileged enough to be with her through her last few days. He said that she did suffer terrible pain towards the end. On good Friday she was crying out from the fractures in her bones, caused by spending so much time bedridden. But, he said, she did seem to calm down after 3pm – the time our Lord gave up His spirit.

It seems obvious to me that mother Angelica was participating in our Lord’s pain and passion. I can say this with confidence because she had proved at earlier times in her life that she understood the value of suffering.

The priest said that despite the concern expressed by her doctors and fellow nuns, she had asked to go onto a feeding tube a few weeks before to prolong her life as long as possible. This was because she understood the infinite value in one more glance to God, one more act of redemptive suffering offered with love. This of course is the exact opposite mentality of the euthanasia movement who wish to eliminate all pain and suffering, and old-age ‘uselessness’.

He reminded us that she suffered a huge brain hemorrhage in 2001 which meant that from that time on she spent most of her time back in the cloister. God had called her back into a life of prayer and contemplation, where she was going to be most valuable to Him.

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We are so quick to dismiss suffering. It is almost always an unwanted gift, but none the less, one of the most valuable.

In my own experience of suffering I have learned that it is how we suffer that is important. Just like fasting, I believe suffering only bears fruit if it is offered with a prayerful loving and generous heart. I believe suffering to be the biggest untapped spiritual resource we have as Christians.

Let’s choose to embrace our little crosses and allow ourselves to participate in Jesus’ pain and passion, not just at the end of our lives, but today and everyday, just like mother Angelica did.

Someone make that woman a saint!

Happy 1st Birthday Faith in our Families!

fiof birthday

Fifth Sunday of Lent – Year C

“Let anyone among you who is without sin, be the first to throw a stone at her.”

Gospel: John 8:1-11

1 While Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. 2 Early in the morning he came again to the temple. All the people came to him and he sat down and began to teach them. 3 The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery; and making her stand before all of them, 4 they said to him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery. 5 Now in the law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” 6 They said this to test him, so that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. 7 When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8 And once again he bent down and wrote on the ground. 9 When they heard it, they went away, one by one, beginning with the elders; and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. 10 Jesus straightened up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” 11 She said, “No one, sir.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you. Go your way, and from now on do not sin again.”

Gospel Summary

The Scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman before Jesus who was guilty of adultery. The asked Him what should be done with her? They were in fact trying to trick Jesus into going against the law of Moses by not having the woman stoned or going against the Roman law that did not allow the Jewish people to impose the death sentence. Jesus took His time to answer, and then instructed anyone who was without sin to cast the first stone. Of course no-one could do this, and the crowd slowly drifted away. Jesus then tells the woman that He does not condemn her – and that she should go, and not sin again.

Relating the Gospel to our lives today.

How would you feel if you were the adulterous woman’s husband? Or the wife of the man she committed adultery with? Pretty angry right?! There are plenty of words we can use to describe this woman – home wrecker, whore, dirty, cheap, the list goes on. And quite right – adultery destroys marriages and families. So why did Jesus seemingly let her get away with it? There are three reasons here: firstly, Jesus was making the point that as human beings, we do not have the moral authority to condemn one another. We are all sinners, and all in need of God’s forgiveness. Secondly, he was revealing the very essence of Good News – that Gods love and mercy are greater than our sins. And thirdly, He was drawing attention to the fact that this woman was not just a sinner but a person.

In some ways, my own judgemental reaction to this woman reminds me of the elder brother’s reaction in the prodigal son – “How can God love this sinner as much as He loves me?” At the end of the day we have to face our own reaction for what it is: jealous, self-righteous moral snobbery (ouch!). This story is a true lesson in humility for us!

How do we react to our fellow sinners? The drug addict, the prostitute, the divorced and re-married, the homosexual, the atheist, the young woman who had an abortion? Do we see the person, or just the sin? Do we take into account that there are circumstances and a complex history for this person that has led them to where they are? Or do we stand there holding our stone, ready to throw it?

Judgment day will come, and justice will be served – but that is God’s job, not ours.

  • Each one of us is created in the image and likeness of God.
  • Do I realise my own dignity?
  • Do I realise the dignity of others?

Make me a channel of your peace. Where there is hatred let me bring your love. Where there is injury, your pardon, Lord. And where there’s doubt, true faith in you.

Make me a channel of your peace. Where there’s despair in life, let me bring hope. Where there is darkness, only light. And where there’s sadness, ever joy.

Oh, Master grant that I may never seek, So much to be consoled as to console. To be understood as to understand. To be loved as to love with all my soul.

Make me a channel of your peace. It is in pardoning that we are pardoned. In giving to all men that we receive. And in dying that we’re born to eternal life.

 – St. Francis of Assisi

* GOD BLESS OUR NEW POPE FRANCIS! *

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POPE FRANCIS  TRUE DISCIPLE OF JESUS Pope Francis I In 2008, on the Holy Thursday, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio(Pope Francis) washed the feet of 12 recovering drug addicts at a rehabilitation centre in Buenos Aires, Argentina(in this Pic). As Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, he showed compassion for the victims of HIV-AIDS and in 2001, visited a hospice to kiss and wash the feet of 12 AIDS patients. True disciple of Christ!!! To be more precise True Vicar of Christ!!!

Three People Enter Into Civil Partnership in Brazil.

“My question is: what are these law holders driving at? What is the media driving at? What are these groups driving at by confronting the society with totally distorted values?”…

Threesome FMF Mouse Pads by visualnewbie

Three people have been allowed to enter into a civil union in the Brazilian state of Sao Paulo.

Claudia do Nascimento Domingues, a public notary, granted the wishes of the  man and two women, saying there is nothing in law that prevents such an arrangement.

The trio have lived together in Rio de Janeiro for three years, and have a joint bank account, sharing bills and expenses. The union was made formally three months ago, according to Globo TV, but only became public this week.

“We are only recognising what has always existed. We are not inventing anything,” said Ms Domingues.“For better or worse, it doesn’t matter, but what we considered a family before isn’t necessarily what we would consider a family today.”

The decision has sparked criticism in the country however. Regina Beatriz Tavares da Silva, a lawyer, told the BBC it was “totally illegal” and “completely unacceptable which goes against   Brazilian values and morals”.

Same sex unions have been legally recognised in Brazil since 2004. A same-sex couple may convert their civil union into marriage with the approval of a state judge. In July 2011, a judge in Sao Paulo approved the country’s first gay marriage, when he ruled two men could convert their union.

Marisa Lobo, a psychologist and evangelical Christian known in Brazil for encouraging reparative therapy laws for homosexuals, told the Verdade Gospel, according to The Christian Post: “My question is: what are these law holders driving at? What is the media driving at? What are these groups driving at by confronting the society with totally distorted values?”

Sources – The Telegraph, BBC News.

 

So…

I read this and a small part of me is shocked. A larger part of me is not shocked. After all – what did we expect? In the eyes of modern man this is PROGRESS right??!!

So whats next? Will these 3 people be allowed to adopt? No-one can stop them from conceiving their own children. Is it fair on the child?

And I suppose now there is nothing to stop 5, 6, or 100 people entering into civil union with each other? Heck! – I could propose to all you guys – my lovely readers  – and we could enter into a several-thousand person marriage! (Congratulations everyone!)

Will I now be able to marry my cat? After all – he has rights too.

Will I be able to marry Michael Jackson, Elvis Presley or Marilyn Monroe? Surely it is UNFAIR to tell me I can’t. You can’t discriminate against someone just because they are dead – right?! 😉 How silly!

But seriously. Listen once again to the words of Marisa Lobo and understand that Marriage and the Family has never been under such threat… “My question is: what are these law holders driving at? What is the media driving at? What are these groups driving at by confronting the society with totally distorted values?”

Please share, Thanks.

 

 

 

 

 

My Medjugorje Trip Day 5 – The day we saw the sun spin.

This is my personal experience of, and witness to Medjugorje. I would like you to share this post to draw more attention to the best place on earth, so that others may have the opportunity to fall in love with Medugorje, Mother Mary, and ultimately Her beloved Son Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

Day 5…

(If you choose to look at the sun that is your own choice and responsibility – but be careful not to damage your eyes.)

I woke up to discover I had a flat tyre on my buggy. I spent several minuets cursing myself for not taking my husband’s advice of taking the spare wheel, and then decided I was just going to have to get on with it!
After a taxi ride into town we went to mass. My 6-year-old leaned over to me and whispered “mummy I love Medjugorje – I don’t want to go home.” It melted my heart! And I told him that Our Lady wants us to go home and tell people how cool Medjugorje is!
After mass – as usual – we took the kids to Colombo’s for huge ice creams and lemonade! This is such a great part of coming to Medj that they don’t get everyday back at home.
Later that evening the heat had cooled down enough for me to take the kids to blue cross one last time. I had the girl on my back in a sling, and my boy was going up on his own. For some reason we seemed to just fly up those rocks this time. We never broke step and we were not even out of breath when we reached the top. When we arrived we saw everyone was turned round looking, pointing, and taking pictures of the sky. “no way!” I thought to myself “is it the sun?” I had a brief look but it seemed no different to normal. It was too bright to look at even with my shades on. And besides – the baby girl on my back was throwing a tantrum, destroying the silence by screaming her head off and hitting me in the back of the head! And my boy was trying to climb up the next part of the mountain!
I managed to call him back and get a nice unsuspecting Italian man to help me take the girl off my back.  I asked him “what are you looking at?” He said “sun, sun, look…” I gestured that I could not see anything. He ushered me too take off my shades, and then I saw it.


The sun had lost all of its yellow colour and had become this dull white, very slightly grey-ish flat disc, almost like a eucharist sitting in front of the sun. It was moving or spinning slightly – not going round like a Catherine wheel, but circulating in the same motion as if you were polishing a window with a cloth. There was no light coming from it, all the light was coming from behind it. Bright white light directly behind it and then colours. My son described it as “smudges of paint” and actually he is right in a way because if I were to try to draw it I think water-colour would be the correct medium. First it was crimson, then further out it was purple. Then it changed to bright green and then blue. It kept changing and even though the colours were incredibly vivid, it didn’t hurt our eyes to look at it.

After a few minutes of watching, my boy says to me “oh come on mummy, we’ve seen it now!” I laughed and told him “do you know this is a miracle?! God is letting us know he is here.” He asked me “is that God?” I said “it’s one of his signs.” He answered “oh. can we climb on the rocks now?!”  So we climbed on the rocks for a while, catching glimpses of this completely supernatural event. I don’t know what gave me more joy – to see the famous miracle of the sun, or to see my 6-year-old take it completely in his stride like it happened every day! My 2-year-old girl seemed more in awe of it – until she saw a small white cat and then decided that was much more interesting! Kids!! Although she was the one to come home and tell granny and uncle and auntie all about it. It would be difficult for a 2 and a 6-year-old to make this stuff up right? You get me? It happened. And I am so grateful we got to see it.
As we were making our way down the mountain we bumped into an Irish family who asked us if we could see the sun too. I said yes. The wife told me she also saw – in the middle of the dull white disk – a little boy of about 2 years of age. “just as if I was looking at him” she gestured towards her own toddler son. I was not lucky enough to see what she saw, but I am presuming the little boy was the child Jesus.
Soon after this the clouds came in and the miracle of the sun quietly and gently concluded.

My Medjugorje trip, Day 1 – Peaceful culture shock.

This is my personal experience of, and witness to Medjugorje. I would like you to share this post to draw more attention to the best place on earth, so that others may have the opportunity to fall in love with Medugorje, Mother Mary, and ultimately Her beloved Son Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

Day 1…

Travelling on my own with 2 small kids to Medjugorje seemed rather daunting. Ok I was terrified! Thank God my mum offered to come and lend a hand! The journey from London Gatwick was surprisingly smooth. The 2 1/2 hour flight went quickly and the 2 1/2 hour coach trip with the kids was fine (with the help of my portable DVD player). So far so good.

We are staying with Jacov Colo, the youngest of the 6 visionaries. He was there to welcome our group. He seems like a nice chap! very down to earth with a good sense of humour – an old softy really! He was 9 years old at the start of the apparitions in 1981. He lost his mother at 11 and his father at 13. He was then raised by his uncle. He had his last daily apparition on september 12th 1998. Since then he sees Our Lady once a year on Christmas day.

Jacov in the early years.

Jacov today.

Our room is basic but comfortable, and the food is great! Everyone here is very friendly and genuinely kind and helpful. They want to make our time here happy one.

This evening mum had the kids and it was cool enough for me to climb mount Podbrdo. I was on my own, but surrounded by many other small groups of pilgrims quietly praying the rosary, listening to the story of Medjugorje, or just silently making their way up the mountain. It is so peaceful here. My goodness it is so peaceful here. I am finding this peace to be a little difficult to get used to. It has been 8 years since my last trip, and the adjustment from the secular environment of the UK is proving to be a bit of a culture shock. It just goes to show how different life is when you are surrounded by people who believe in God, and when you are surrounded by people who don’t.

The ‘guard’ I put up in my normal daily life isn’t needed here. Here there is no fight.  I am free to be overtly catholic and there is no one trying to oppose or oppress me. Instead every where I look there are people praying quietly. Young, old, black, white, fat thin, first timers and returnees.

Some gently coming to terms with rediscovering their faith, others walking around with big smiles and eyes like saucers because it has suddenly dawned on them that God does exist! Others have come for a specific intention, to pray for a loved one – living or dead.

Some are over coming addictions, some are discerning the priesthood, some are praying to heal their marriages. Others like me, are trying to teach their children that there is something more. Something the culture in the UK doesn’t offer. Something they can take with them back home and remember when they are faced with difficult decisions later in their lives.

I am so happy to be back here! I pray this trip is a success, and I can’t wait to tell you all about it!

Read 50 Shades of Grey? Still having boring Sex? Here’s why…

Are you one of the 20 million women who have purchased 50 Shades of Grey?

Women all over the globe seem to be raving about this latest ‘mummy porn’. “It’s helped put the ‘life’ back into our sex life!” “Me and my husband are trying new and really naughty things!” and even “I have run the batteries flat on my vibrator!”.

Ok, so let me ask you another question…

How is your sex life, I mean really?

Because the overwhelming feeling i am getting from all these women is one of relief. Relief that the drudgery of their sex lives has been interrupted by this gasp-worthy and shock-tastic piece of erotic literature.

Why are 20 million women so unsatisfied with their sex lives?

Well its a good question! Obviously the initial attraction and excitement of wanting to rip your spouses clothes off at the beginning of a relationship naturally declines, but really – BDSM?! Surely there is a better alternative!

For some who don’t understand love, this decline in initial excitement is the beginning of the end – “The fire’s gone out of our relationship…” But wait! The alternative to BDSM is here!: If you grab the latest copy of Cosmopolitan or its equivalent, it will be able to tell you 101 ways how to “Spice up your love life!” (no joke, this is a serious suggestion from a hip and trendy woman’s mag…):

“…Dip into your kids’ toy chest, you paid for all those board games

— why not borrow them and play strip versions?…”

However, after about 5 seconds of reading these hilariously weak, stupid, embarrassing suggestions, one is left feeling a little um, uninspired. Can you imagine the excitement of Strip-Scrabble?! The unbridled eroticism of Strip-Hungry Hungry Hippos?! With Strip-Monopoly it would take over 2 hours before you even got your socks off!

The truth is of course that the poor misguided souls who read this rubbish believe that the initial feeling of sexual arousal/relationship excitement they felt at the beginning – that ‘fire’ – is the key to a happy and successful long-term relationship. So they spend years finding more and more bizarre 50 Shades-ish ways to ‘spice things up’, desperately trying to ward off that feeling of boredom that they dread so terribly.

Yes that’s right – you dread sexual boredom. After all, isn’t having ‘exciting’ sex the highest prize, the pinnacle of personal success in our pleasure-seeking, orgasm driven society?

Ok, I’m not going to claim to know the answer to everyone’s sexual dissatisfaction, but i do very much agree with one theory that is floating around out there…

!!!WARNING – ARTIFICIAL CONTRACEPTION IS RUINING YOUR SEX LIFE!!!

I’m serious. And many other people are starting to wake up to this fact. Here are the facts as reported from 1Flesh – the fantastic new website giving us the truth about artificial contraception http://www.1flesh.org/argument_page/pill-female-sex-drive/

For almost fifty years,  men and women have relied on contraception for liberated, satisfied sex lives, free from fear and unwanted consequence. And by and large, contraception has provided…for men. Women, on the other hand, are far more dissatisfied with their sex lives. Recent surveys found that 63% of married women would rather be watching a movie than having sex with their husbands, and, according to the 2010 National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior, only 64% of women report having an orgasm in their last sexual encounter.

It is entirely possible that part of women’s sexual dysfunction is the result of the birth control pill. A study published on May 4th, 2010 in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, reported that sexual functioning was negatively correlated with use of contraception in a study of over 1,000 German medical students. They reported both reduced sexual desire and arousal, indicating a potential link between contraceptive hormones and lack of sexual satisfaction. In an editorial published with the study, Dr. Irwin Goldstein of the Journal stated, “The irony is that these women are provided a medication that enables freedom from reproductive worries, but these same women are not provided information that there are significant adverse sexual effects that may ensue.”

The problem with hormonal contraception is that it increases estrogen (and sometimes progesterone) levels in a woman’s body, fooling it into acting as though pregnant in order to suppress ovulation. In an actual pregnancy, a woman’s sex drive is frequently reported to fluctuate dramatically, often increasing during the first trimester of pregnancy and tapering off during the second two, dropping off drastically postpartum. How these fluctuations are influenced by estrogen and androgen levels is poorly understood, and most will collectively blame “hormones.” But it is no secret that women typically experience dramatic changes in sex drive during the course of pregnancy.

It would be naïve, then, not to expect a similar change in sex drive with the use of hormonal contraception, which creates an ‘artificial pregnancy’, but involves none of the emotional and relational satisfaction that comes from a healthy pregnancy and anticipation of a child. We have put women in a medical situation that has no precedent in our experience. In short, hormonal birth control’s effect on a woman’s sexual satisfaction is a possible detriment, and needs to be studied as such.

The study of German medical students cited earlier in this article is so important because thus far, it is one of a kind. In the 50 years  in which hormonal contraception has been legal, there has been virtually no reliable research conducted to determine if contraception is really meeting one of its goals: allowing women to be sexually satisfied. In granting women sexual “liberty”, they could be physically cheapening a woman’s ability to be satisfied sexually. The scientific community responsible for reproductive health must critically reevaluate if their current agendas for hormonal contraception are based on women’s best interests.

Please visit http://www.1flesh.org/ for more info, and lets start the revolution ‘Bringing Sexy Back’!

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Hundreds of Christians Prosecuted Over Same Sex Marriage Law.

Please share this post to make people aware of the reality of changing the law on marriage…

Officials at the Home Office and the Department for Education concede that teachers may be under a legal obligation to inform children about same-sex marriage once it has passed into law. Under the Education Act 1996, pupils must learn about the nature of marriage and its importance for family life in sex education classes.

Colin Hart, campaign director at the Coalition for Marriage, said: ‘Marriage appears more than 3,000 times in law, affecting every aspect of our lives. It is simply impossible to redefine it without many serious unintended consequences, not least forcing schools to teach children about gay marriage, even if this goes against the wishes of the parents, children and teachers.’

‘The issue of same-sex marriage is not just one about equality, but what happens in our school classrooms as well,’ he said. ‘Teachers should be able to exercise their consciences according to their own views on marriage, but that could well be constrained by these proposals. ‘As much as I am sceptical about the Government being able to exempt churches from conducting same-sex marriages, I also doubt whether it will be possible to construct exemptions for teachers. ‘They would be open to legal challenges. Is the Government really going to order primary school teachers to go against the views of the churches that run them?’

Hundreds of Canadians have faced legal proceedings for opposing same-sex ‘marriage’ in the public sphere following its introduction in 2005, it has been reported. Within five years of marriage being redefined in Canada, an estimated two to three hundred cases have been brought against individuals, mostly Christians, who have opposed same-sex marriage in the public sphere. The proceedings have been brought at employment boards, courts, and human rights commissions.

A number of employees have been dismissed from their jobs because they have maintained a conscientious objection to same-sex marriage. Businesses have been sued and churches have been threatened with sanctions over their religious beliefs.

Examples from Canada

A television anchor on a prominent sports show was immediately dismissed after he posted his support for “the traditional and true meaning of marriage” on Twitter.

A Roman Catholic bishop in Alberta, Fred Henry, was charged with a human-rights violation for writing a letter to local churches outlining the Catholic position on marriage.

A Christian organisation in Ontario working with some of the most marginalised disabled people in Canada was taken to court after objecting to the marriage of one of its homosexual employees. The organisation faced an ultimatum and had to choose between changing its hiring and employment policy or being closed down.

An evangelical Christian marriage commissioner in Saskatchewan was successfully sued for refusing to marry a homosexual couple, despite assisting the couple by putting them in touch with another marriage commissioner who would be willing to conduct the ceremony.

A campaign has now begun in Canada to remove tax-free status from churches that refuse to perform same-sex marriage ceremonies. Some Canadian provinces are even considering laws to forbid teachers in private schools from teaching that traditional marriage is the ideal.

Michael Coren, writing for the National Review Online, said: “Once gay marriage becomes law, critics are often silenced by the force of the law. The Canadian litany of pain, firings, and social and political polarization and extremism is extraordinary and lamentable, and we haven’t even begun to experience the mid and long-term results of this mammoth social experiment. I seldom say it, but for goodness’ sake, learn something from Canada.”

Examples from Denmark

Canada is not the only country with same-sex marriage laws that has witnessed subsequent restrictions on religious freedom.

Last week, new laws were introduced in Denmark requiring all Established Evangelical Lutheran churches to perform same-sex marriages.

Individual ministers can opt-out of performing the ceremonies, but Bishops will be forced, sometimes against their conscience, to find a replacement minister to perform the ceremonies.

Some campaigners in Denmark are now calling for the ceremonies to be compulsory for non-Lutheran churches as well, including the Catholic Church.

Andrea Minichiello Williams, CEO of Christian Concern, said:

“When same-sex marriage is introduced, religious freedom and freedom of speech is crushed. Is this what we want for the UK?

“If same-sex marriage becomes legal in the UK, we are likely to witness a similar surge of proceedings brought against Christians in the public sphere, who will be penalised for having a biblical sexual ethic.”

It is a sad fact that even the British Christian politicians are unaware of the realities of changing the law on marriage. Please see my earlier post regarding Labour MP Siobhan McDonagh…

http://listeninginthedesert.wordpress.com/2012/06/18/catholic-siobahn-mcdonaghs-mp-cringeworthy-response-to-my-letter-on-the-re-definition-of-marriage/

Please sign the C4M petition to keep marriage between 1 woman and 1 man – http://c4m.org.uk/ and don’t forget to sign up for my blog, ‘like’ my Facebook page, or follow me on Twitter @FaithIOFamilies.

Sources – National Review, Christian Concern, Daily Mail.