The Time of the Lukewarm Church is Over.

litany69

St. Thomas More and St. John Fisher.

Many are feeling discouraged or even despair that many cardinals – including Vincent Nichols, are supportive of the notion that individuals should be allowed to decide for themselves whether or not they should receive our Lord in the Eucharist despite being in a state of mortal sin. But I am beginning to see something else I never dreamed I would see so soon in my lifetime.

Every time I check my Facebook or Twitter feed, every faithful catholic blog I read, every faithful priest, or lay person I come across is suddenly, all at once proclaiming the truth of the indissolubility of the sacrament of marriage, the healing freedom of the sacrament of Confession and our Lord’s real presence in the sacrament of Holy Eucharist.

Whether it be a gentle line or two in their own twitter feeds, or a reply correcting a heretic spreading false messages of fake mercy, the faithful are fighting tooth and nail to shout the truth of the Catholic church from the rooftops.

Most are delivering it in a gentle but firm way, and those who are finding themselves consumed by frustration and passion are learning quickly the correct, informed, prayerful composed approach with which to deliver the truth.

Before the Synod I had NEVER heard a priest speak on contraception, adultery, homosexuality or even marriage in general. Now that is all I seem to be hearing! It seems to me that the Holy Spirit has found a voice in the faithful who are no longer afraid to speak the truth in these matters. Yes, you will lose some friends, you might lose family, you will definitely lose members of your congregation, but the time of the lukewarm church is over. It is time to decide to live for radically for Christ – or just get out.

Now is the time for a strong, faithful church full of people in love with Jesus Christ, living radically counter-cultural prayerful lives in which the Gospel can be clearly witnessed by those around them in the normal day to day aspects of their daily living. Now is the time for those who wish to step courageously out onto the road to holiness – to sainthood – even to martyrdom: dying to themselves so they can live more fully for Christ.

Saints Louis and Zelie Martin

Saints Louis and Zelie Martin

This synod really is the last roll of the dice for the likes of Kasper and his cronies. In 5 or 10 years the majority of the Spirit of Vatican 2 generation will be dead, and that shameful period in the life of the church will become history. But I am 35, and I am strong. My relationship/prayer life with Jesus and His Mother is strong. My kids are being brought up secure in the truth. We are the future of the church.

God gave me a big mouth and I’m not afraid to use it! Ha!Ha! I am not afraid of proclaiming the truth – whatever the cost 🙂  Truth is absolute. You can’t have versions of the truth. That is called Relativism and had been condemned as one of the biggest evils of the 20th century. ++Vincent Nichols it seems is afraid of this absolute truth. Remember how he reacted when the 500 priests asked him to re-affirm the churches teaching on marriage? He panicked. He faltered. Why? Because he knows that there is very little he can do to stop the power of the Holy Spirit moving among his priests 🙂

Priests, Bishops, Deacons, Nuns, Mothers, Fathers, Husbands, Wives, Children… Do Not Be Afraid! Ha!Ha! Pray. Become the saints of tomorrow. Do not be afraid to choose the road to holiness. Once you step onto it you will find you will never walk it alone.

Pray, proclaim the truth, live the Gospel. Do Not Be Afraid! Begin to usher in the new springtime of the Catholic Church.

Saints Louis and Zelie Martin, pray for us.

Saint Therese of Lisieux, pray for us.

Saint John Paul II, pray for us.

Saints John Fisher and Thomas More, pray for us.

“Dear Louis and Zelie, please help me with my marriage.”

Zelie & Louis Martin

When I heard the relics of Louis and Zelie Martin were coming to the UK I immediately knew I had to go visit them. Their youngest daughter – St Therese of Lisieux was the one who guided me into Carmel. She has become one of my best friends (yes – some of my best friends are actually dead 😉 ) and to be able to ‘meet’ her parents was a very special honour for me as a secular Carmelite. They had 9 children, 4 of whom tragically died in childhood. They were married for 19 years until Zelie died from breast cancer when little Therese was just 4 years old.

Their relics were on display at Portsmouth cathedral UK. Bishop Egan said Mass and gave a superb homily reminding us all that no man has the authority to change Christ’s teaching on marriage.

There was also time for quiet reflection. And I found myself praying the only prayer I could think of: “Please help me with my marriage…”

Next week Nick and I will have been married for 15 years. The last 18 months have been really, really hard. Nick was diagnosed with CFS when our 3rd child was just 4 months old, and has not been at work since then. We have no idea when or if he will recover. We do not have an income. I now take the kids on holiday on my own. I didn’t chose this and neither did he. I cannot stand to watch him suffer.

But it’s not all bad…

How many fathers do you know who get to spend everyday with their baby? How many fathers do you know who are their for their kids everyday when they get home from school, eat dinner together everyday, read bedtime stories everyday? (I must just add that as husband and wife, being together in close proximity 24/7 has its um… challenges – like refraining from killing each other 😉 )

20150521_105045

“Please help me with my marriage…” I would like to think that after 15 years of wife-ing, I was getting pretty good at it. But I’m afraid I still struggle with my vocation every single day. And so does he. It’s not always a bed of roses.

How it is possible for us to have got married age 20 with 1 days preparation, and then keep that marriage together through thick and thin in every possible scenario for 15 years I just don’t know. I can only put it down to the fact that Jesus is present in our sacrament of marriage. We have tried to split up a few times but we just couldn’t do it 🙂

On one occasion I remember desperately wanting to leave but wrestling with the fact that if I left, I would have to deny Christ – and I just couldn’t do it 🙂 In the end it wasn’t feelings towards my husband that kept me in my marriage, it wasn’t even the fact that I believe children need to grow up with their mother and father present, but it was the fact that Jesus had given His whole life for me on the cross, and now He was asking me to give my whole life for Him by staying obediently in my marriage vows. It was at that moment about 8 years ago that Christ became first place in my marriage.

Louis and Zelie were terrific examples of this. They had Christ in first place in their marriage from the very start. They obviously adored each other, but crucially they did not idolise each other. Christ came first.

20150521_105137

Gosh! What a lesson this is for us today! How many people idolise their spouse, putting them above God? Many, I would say. And it’s not fair, because when you put your spouse first (above God) you are burdening them with a role they can not possibly ever live up to. Your spouse will NEVER be able to fill that God shaped hole in your heart. And it is completely unrealistic and unfair to expect them to. And when you begin to realise that your spouse is not ‘fulfilling’ you like you would like then you actually begin to blame them for it! Crazy isn’t it?!

Personally I’m convinced that this is the reason that so many marriages are failing now. People are expecting their spouse to fulfil the parts of them that only God can fulfil.

By putting Christ first in their marriage, Louis and Zelie kept their marriage holy, and also set the example for their 5 surviving daughters who all went on to become Carmelite nuns. What an amazing couple. What an outstanding example.

Dear Louis and Zelie, please help me with my marriage.

Today I was received into Carmelite formation – and no, I did NOT just become a nun!

20150221_1318101

Today I was received into Carmelite formation. Really – I couldn’t be happier! 🙂 It seems as if my whole life has lead me up to this point. Now I am part of a family where I will have the space and the resources to discover and develop a part of myself that has been screaming to get out for a very, very long time.

I have been asking people to pray for me on Facebook regarding this over the last few weeks and to my great amusement, there were quite  a large number of people who congratulated me on becoming a nun! This got even funnier when they realised I was married with 3 kids!

Let me explain…

In the Carmelite (ocds) order there are the First Order – the friars (who are active/contemplative), the Second Order – the nuns (who are cloistered) and the Third Order (or ‘Seculars’) – laypeople who continue to live in the world, and can be married or single, and diocesan priests. I am becoming a Third Order (secular) Carmelite.  The seculars are fully part of the Order, taking similar promises to friars and nuns but related to their lives as lay people.

The first part of my formation lasts 1-2 years. At the end of this time I will make my First Promise. Then there is a second period of formation lasting 4-5 years. At the end of this time I will make my Final (life long) Promise. After this I will become a fully fledged Carmelite.

The charism (or spiritual focus) of the Carmelite Order is contemplation. But a very important point is to understand that Carmelites understand contemplation and action to be complementary, not contradictory. This is a particularly important point to grasp because I am living the Carmelite charism within my vocation as a wife and a mother. The two actually fit together hand in hand beautifully, and is perfectly described in the famous quote for Teresa of Avila “God is found among the pots and pans.”

The Carmelite Order is considered by the Church to be under the special protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and has a strong Marian devotion. ‘Our Lady of Mount Carmel’ is the title given to the Blessed Virgin Mary in her role as patroness of the Carmelite Order.

We wear the Brown Scapular (which is basically a tiny habit!)

We say the Divine Office morning, evening and night prayer.

We follow the rule of St Albert.

Some famous Carmelite saints you may have heard of are Teresa of ÁvilaSaint Thérèse of Lisieux, Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein), Saint John of the Cross, St. Simon Stock and many more…

It is a way of life. A spirituality focused on the interior life – prayer from the heart, relationship with God.

I am really just scratching the surface here! And lets not forget I’m just a beginner! But I hope this goes some way to explaining what I am doing in my life now and the fact that even though I have just been received into formation, I have not just become a nun!

download

 

Hilarious conversation between St. Therese of Lisieux and a Facebook scammer!

On Facebook this is my profile pic:

Therese_von_Lisieux (1)

It is a picture of St Therese of Lisieux. So you can imagine my surprise when I received a personal message telling me this:

“Hello. How are you doing? nice to meet you my dear i got Attracted in your good looking profile and really wish if we can be friend.” 

It was from this guy: 

10996539_1386336561679522_4940367648327555666_n

It didn’t take me 5 seconds to work out that this guy – Jordan Caihoun was a scammer.
The next day he contacted me again! And this time I though it was time to have a little fun…

10996539_1386336561679522_4940367648327555666_n “Hello”

Therese_von_Lisieux (1) “Hi”

10996539_1386336561679522_4940367648327555666_n “how are you?”

Therese_von_Lisieux (1) “Good thanks!”

10996539_1386336561679522_4940367648327555666_n “Thanks a lot my dear friend for your reply and it is my pleasure having you as my friend, and what name should i call you often.”

Therese_von_Lisieux (1) “St. Therese, but my friends call me ‘little flower’.”

10996539_1386336561679522_4940367648327555666_n “Knowing one another is a gradual process and here are few things I think you should know about me, I am an American Citizen and also an American soldier and before I was serving in the American Army base in United State but right now I am leading a troop in Qabul, Kandahar, Afghanistan, I am serving in the military of the 3rd Infantry Division in Qabul, Kandahar, Afghanistan.”

Therese_von_Lisieux (1) “I am a Carmelite saint who lived in the late 1800’s in Lisieux, France. Do you like roses?”

10996539_1386336561679522_4940367648327555666_n “so much”

Therese_von_Lisieux (1) “So do I ! I like to obtain graces for people and send them as a shower of roses to those who pray with me!”

10996539_1386336561679522_4940367648327555666_n “Actually I entered facebook because I am searching for a wife, my wife died 6 years ago and left me with 1 son Because of the nature of my job I can not get the chance and time to meet people out side so I decided to use this media because I have promised my kid that I must get a wife and step mother for her soon. Please let me know if you will be ready to spend the rest of your life with me and if you think it cannot work for us that will not be any problem we can just be very close friends okay. I wait for your reply.”

Therese_von_Lisieux (1) “Well, I have taken a life long vow of celibacy – so that might be an issue I suppose?”

10996539_1386336561679522_4940367648327555666_n “building relationship is a gradual process but falling in love is just for second. My sweet darling your status will not stop me from loving you, i believe in the inner most beauty of a woman which i believe you posses.”

Therese_von_Lisieux (1) “The innermost beauty is that of total submission to His will. And I desire to suffer to bring all sinners back into His love! Even you ;)”

10996539_1386336561679522_4940367648327555666_n “Honey I know we don’t see each other yet,but I want you to agree with me that true love is addicted and distance cannot stop us when we are deeply and truly in love. So please give me a chance to love you more because I feel some thing strong here for you as love and I believe I will make you a total woman and give you love that you will like and you never did before.”

Therese_von_Lisieux (1) “That love you speak of is real! So real! And I have found my love in the desert of Carmel! My love, my Lord, is everything to me. No love is greater than the love I have for my Lord!”

10996539_1386336561679522_4940367648327555666_n “the love of the lord is the greatest”

Therese_von_Lisieux (1) “I think it is the little things in life that are important, don’t you agree?”

10996539_1386336561679522_4940367648327555666_n “yea i strongly believe you”

Therese_von_Lisieux (1) “Sometimes just a smile or a kind word is enough to lift a despondent soul. What do you think?”

10996539_1386336561679522_4940367648327555666_n “I am ready to entrust my treasures into your care If you make me believe in you to prove my love to you baby.”

Therese_von_Lisieux (1) “What is your name?”

10996539_1386336561679522_4940367648327555666_n “My full names is Jordan Caihoun, an American National and I am still in Afghanistan but will be going back to my country soon.”

Therese_von_Lisieux (1) “No, your real name. Don’t be scared – I won’t judge you. My name is Clare 🙂 I want to pray for you, for your life, so you can find a good job and stop living this Facebook lie. That is no good for you.”

10996539_1386336561679522_4940367648327555666_n “So nice to have you as my new friend and pray that the almighty God will help us have a mutual friendship that will profit us in future…”

Therese_von_Lisieux (1) “Let me pray for you. Tomorrow I will offer my prayers and fasting for you. But tell me your name my friend, please…”

And at this point, Jordan Caihoun suddenly de-friended me. God bless him! And God forgive my mischievous nature 😉

Longing for the Supernatural – Ouija boards Christmas sales up 300%.

01CE8CDA000004B0-0-image-45_1417396062098

Ouija boards are flying off the shelves. Not in the super- natural sense — but the commercial one. The device, said to be a method of contacting the spirit world, is experiencing an unexpected renaissance. Google reports that sales of the board are up 300 per cent, and it is threatening to become a Christmas ‘must buy’.

To some, the Ouija board represents a harmless form of enjoyment, a pretend-scary rite of passage for teenagers in search of thrills on a stormy night. But to others, churchmen included, it is a danger to be avoided, a trigger for psychological harm — or something worse. ‘It’s like opening a shutter in one’s soul and letting in the supernatural,’ says Peter Irwin-Clark, a Church of England vicar who has witnessed the dark side of Ouija. ‘There are spiritual realities out there and they can be very negative.’ ‘I would hugely recommend people not to have anything to do with the occult,’ he says. ‘People find they are having strange dreams, strange things happening to them, even poltergeist activity.’

And the late Reverend Tom Willis practised as a Minister of Deliverance — jargon for an exorcist — for the Anglican Archdiocese of York for half a century, advising Archbishops on the occult. He, too, saw the board as a source of danger. ‘A lot more people are dabbling in the occult and having seances, and that is causing a lot of problems,’ he said in 2012. ‘In the Sixties, the Ouija board caused so many problems — people ending up in mental hospitals because of what they have experienced. An unseen force spelling out messages, he explained, may have sinister motives. ‘It may pretend to be your grandmother you’re in contact with, but it might be something more evil that suddenly gives you some bad advice.’ On one occasion, he remembered, he was contacted by three dockers from Hull who had used a Ouija board the previous evening. ‘They just sat there shaking,’ he said.

While of course I agree with the fact that people should not be going anywhere near Ouija boards or trying to contact ‘spirits’ at all, i do find this news to be somewhat encouraging (bear with me on this one…!). Does it not show a massive appetite for the supernatural, in a society that tells us that this sort of thing does not exist? Of course it does. It is of course leading people down the wrong path, but it shown the desire for more than this life is there, present in people – despite communist and secular attempts to eradicate God. It just shows that the desire and longing for the supernatural – for God – is something that is an essential component of every human being – especially at this time of year where people often feel their loneliness and longing for God intensify.

I can’t help but wonder here how atheist parents feel about buying their children presents of Ouija boards to celebrate Christmas?! (the irony…!) Is there not a pang of anxiety about the fact that people have reported it to be harmful? It seems to me that Atheists are generally much more confident in denying the existence of God than they are denying the existence of Satan. I suppose it is important to remember here that the greatest trick Satan ever pulled is to pretend that he doesn’t exist – until you find yourself meeting him face to face during a game of Ouija that is…

My point here is that this huge rise in sales of the Ouija board presents itself as a cry for help in terms of people looking for spiritual guidance. It is in fact a massive opportunity for evangelisation. An in-experienced teenage Ouija user is testing out the reality of the supernatural. He is testing out the reality of inter-dimensional communication (what we Catholics refer to as prayer). He wants to believe there is something more than this life.

If I ever did get the chance to talk to this guy it may come as quite a shock to him to realise that some of my closest friends I like to hang out with have been dead for several hundred years! Therese (Lisiuex) and I have become like sisters this year. We talk everyday. And my Mother Teresa (Avila) continues to guide my path, as she has done since I was 19.

But perhaps the most mind blowing statement I could make is that God exists, Satan exists, that Jesus is real – and I am having an emotional, spiritual AND physical relationship with Him. To highlight His physical presence in the Eucharist is something amazing, something completely supernatural. To invite this spiritually curious teenager to come and discover real prayer, to feel real holiness and to come face to face with Jesus in the Eucharist would be to offer him the chance of real spiritual satisfaction that he is obviously craving.

Eucharist-5

Would you be surprised if I told you that I believe the most talented undiscovered contemplatives of the future, are most likely the kids naively experimenting with Ouija boards right now? The heart often knows more than the head can express – this was certainly the case with me during my teenage years. I was told not to mess around with dangerous exciting things such as the Ouija board, and then as an alternative I got offered Kum-by-ya and cake sales for Africa. No wonder I was looking elsewhere to be spiritually satisfied.

Sources:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2855439/Sales-Ouija-boards-300-threatening-Christmas-buy-despite-Church-England-warning.html

Sorry, you and your kids are not welcome at Adoration.

For the past month i have been trying something new with my 4 year old. In the mornings after dropping my 7 year old at school, me, Annabel -4, and baby Angelica – 9 months, go across the road to the church to pray.

We take rosaries and mantillas and books and other interesting things to look at while we are there. I make Annabel take her shoes off when we go into the church because bare feet are quieter. She knows she has to whisper because Gods house is a special quiet place where we all come to pray. Angelica is an easy baby who is not walking and is usually very quiet apart from letting out the occasional loud “Ba!” which happens to be her best sound at the moment. We blow kisses to the picture of Therese of Lisieux as we walk past. We watched her film together last week and loved it. Annabel has come to love Therese as much as i do and even dresses up as her by putting her blanket over her head as a veil!! Ha! Ha!

1504116_585880264852171_9150702269279210381_n

We all go down to the back of the church to Our Lady’s chapel which is well out of the way of the main congregation area. I kneel, the baby sits at my feet and plays with her cloth book or her plastic slinky. Annabel dances around the chapel – in silence – usually with her blanket tied round her head because she is playing Therese of Lisieux. Every so often she comes to sit with me and we cuddle while i continue to pray. She waves and blows kisses to “Mummy Mary” as she dances past her statue. She understands this is home. She understands she is loved here. She understands God is here. She witnesses her mother praying in silence. She sees how much I l value and love prayer.

There are usually 4 or 5 other people in the church praying at that time (our church can hold approx 3000 on a full day). On Monday there are the volunteer cleaners who chat away as they clean, which i feel they really shouldn’t do – especially on the sanctuary – but I’m sure they mean no harm!

On Wednesdays it is Adoration. As usual i take the kids down the back to Our Lady’s chapel so as not to disturb the other people there. From our spot you can just see Jesus in the Eucharist from the back of the Monstrance on top of the altar. I need this time with Jesus desperately. I get so little time with Him. Every so often i bring Annabel close to me and ask her “Look! Who’s that over there?” to which she replies “Jesus!”. My daughter understands the real presence. She blows a kiss and then goes back to playing Therese of Lisieux.

I have noticed a real difference in Annabel over the last month. At bedtime her prayers have changed from being a shopping list of toys that she wants to talking to Jesus who she knows loves her. She now prays from her heart because she knows what real prayer is – a conversation. She has felt the presence of God – i have no doubt of that. This has come about because i have ensured she has had the time and space to feel it in our daily morning trips to the church.

My Medjugorje Trip, Day 4 - Adoration

This morning a dear friend of mine came to talk to me as we were leaving the church. She had been asked to pass on a message by one of the more mature (and i use that word ironically) lady’s of the parish. The message was this:

“Please don’t come to Adoration with your children as they are very distracting and we prefer complete silence.”

I hid my initial shock and hurt and thanked her for passing on the message.

I’m glad i don’t know who this person is because then i would probably have to go and say something to them which would probably result in me having to go to confession, again. And if i do find out who it is, i will have to restrain myself from unleashing the tirade of sarcastic responses that start popping into my shocked and hurt brain:

“So when should i bring my kids to adoration then?”

“Sorry – i didn’t realise we were spoiling your adoration.”

“Perhaps the Lord is calling you to spare a prayer or two for my kids? Or even for me?”

“How many other 4 year old’s do you know who understand the real presence? Most adults don’t even get it!”

“Should we not adore as a community?”

“Perhaps you should tell the Priest we are bothering you?”

“How long have you been talking about me and my children to other people in a negative way behind my back.”

“Why did you not have the courage to come and tell me yourself?”

“Perhaps you should just go to the evening session when we are not there?”

“Does the 20 mins that my kids are here distract you so much? Oh I am sorry – try doing it 24 hours a day 7 days a week.”

“Shall i tell Annabel you said she is not welcome? Or would you like to do it yourself?”

“Do you know how hard i try as a Catholic Mother living in a militant secular culture?”

“How dare you try to stop someone from coming into the presence of Jesus.”

“You are like nearly 80. How much more formation do you need?! My daughter is just at the beginning of her life with Jesus.”

“Have you told Jesus what you told us? Perhaps you should, and see what He has to say about it (you will have plenty of time to do so next Wednesday morning during Adoration.)”

It’s best i don’t find out who it is.

Tomorrow is Tuesday. I will be taking my children to the church to pray as usual. I will also be feeling un-welcomed by a stranger i know is watching me and wishing i wasn’t there. I will pray for them.