Is this a sign that Mary is protecting me?

Over a week ago my husband and I had trouble with our air conditioner which is installed in the attic. The air conditioner technician noticed that some of the insulation had been pulled off of the ductwork, a clear sign that a small animal had invaded our attic. Since we live in a rural area where wildlife abounds, it is not uncommon that a wild “critter” prefers a home attic to their natural environment.

ringtail cat

We had had the roofline and attic sealed less than two years ago when a ringtail cat invaded our attic and lived there for several months, so we were surprised that we had a live-in visitor so soon after having the extensive work done. I could not find the receipt from the previous work, so I called a different company to inspect the roof. A young woman came to our home, examined the roofline and told me that there were five places that the visitor was using to enter our attic. She showed me a photo of what she had seen.

The previous work had cost quite a lot of money, so I was understandably upset. The young woman recommended that I contact the previous company and see if there was a warranty. Finding the receipt took some time but after several hours of searching I did find the company which did the original work.

Rosary necklace with St. Benedict medal

While I was speaking with the young woman she noticed that I was wearing a rosary necklace, one of several kinds which I make. Since the woman recognized what my necklace was, I thought the woman might be Catholic and asked her about her faith. The woman said that she was Catholic and so I gave her the necklace. The young woman accepted the necklace and commented that it was lovely and it fell perfectly on her neckline. I was pleased that she liked the necklace. I asked the woman to send the photo she had taken of the damage to the roofline and an estimate of the cost of doing the repairs. I gave the woman my email address and saw her type the email address into her phone.

I waited several days before contacting the inspection company, as I had not received the estimate, the photo taken or the invoice for the inspection. After several calls and a text message to the inspection company, I still have not heard back from them – this has been over a week now. I was able to contact the company which had sealed up the attic two years ago, and they scheduled an appointment within two days of my call for an inspection.

I recognized the inspector from his previous work. After spending over an hour examining the roof while my husband watched, the inspector said there were no places where an animal was getting in. Since the air conditioner technician had surmised that the “visitor” was a raccoon due to the damage to the ductwork, the roof inspector suggested that we place food in the attic – marshmallows and cheetos – which would attract the animal. If the food were eaten, we were to call the inspector again and he would place cameras on the roof and in the attic to ascertain where the animal was getting into the attic. So now we wait.

I am still in a quandary about the first inspection and why we have never received the photo of our roofline and an estimate for the suggested work. I had not carefully examined the photo on the woman’s phone to ascertain that it was our roofline pictures, as I thought I would have ample time to examine the photo in detail once I received it through my email account.

As I reflect on the experience I wonder if the photo was not of our roofline. Is that why the young woman never contacted us again? Is this a sign of our Blessed Mother looking after me as I had given the young woman the necklace made in honor of Mary? And where will this necklace take the young woman? Will it be a constant reminder to the young woman that God sees everything and that He watches over all of his children?

Reconciliation and Eucharist – RCIA class

Reconciliation

1. Can you remember an experience of sin and forgiveness in your life?

2. How would you define sin? An action which separates me from God and from others, an action that hurts others and myself.

3. How did  Jesus minister to sinners in these gospel passages?

Mark 2:1-12 Jesus heals the paralytic first by forgiving his sin and then healing his lameness.

Luke 7:36-50 He told a parable about a creditor to those who were accusing the woman. Then He forgave her sins.

Luke 19:1-10 story of Zacchaeus. Jesus is invited to his home. Zacchaeus changes his life because he is forgiven and accepted.

John 8:1-11 the woman caught in adultery. Jesus asks her accusers to throw the first stone if they are without sin. When they do not, He forgives the woman.

4. Name one specific way that you can answer the call to be a reconciler. I did this with Jean. Asked for her forgiveness and then told her I wouldn’t fight any more.

5. How have you learned about a need for conversion from your family or friends? I don’t understand what the question is asking for.

 

Eucharist –

1. Have you ever gotten into trouble for doing the right thing? Yes, or what I thought was the right thing. There were disastrous consequences.

2.With whom have you associated that has caused people to talk? I don’t know

3. For some non-Catholics belief in the Eucharist is what leads them to the Catholic Church. For other non-Catholics, the Eucharist is a real stumbling block. How do you feel at this point? I love the Eucharist. This is why I came back to the Church instead of going elsewhere.

4. When did someone who loved you give up something special for you? The pool

5. Is there someone you would refuse to eat with or keep company with? How can you act like Jesus toward this person? No

 

RCIA lesson 3 Church Hierarchy, Papal Infallibility, Magisterium, Mary and the Saints

The lesson includes some Bible passages: Matthew 16, 1 Timothy 3:14-15, information from the Catechism CCC 85,890,2033. The questions answered here are from Journey of Faith about Mary and the Saints.

Describe someone you know whom you would consider to be “holy”. Karen, my facilitator partner. Karen is a lay Carmelite (25 years). That means she prays twice a day, meditates every day and attends daily Mass as often as possible. She spends an hour every week in the Adoration Chapel. She is a kind person. I have never seen her angry or heard a hurtful word from her.

How has this person affected your life? She is a role model for me.

What pictures of people do you carry in your wallet? My daughter

Why do you carry those pictures around? I love her.

Saint whom I chose –  Bernadette of Lourdes

Is there something you find inspiring about that saints life? Mary came to her and asked her to do something for her. Bernadette obeyed even though she didn’t understand and people made fun of her. Bernadette’s life was like Mary, in that she was open to God’s working in her life, no matter what course it took. She said “yes” as Mary did and lived out life as God wished her to live it.

Have you ever asked anyone to pray for you when you were having a hard time? If so, why did you choose that person? Yes, the people I choose are people of prayer.

What would I be a patron saint of? I don’t know

What would you have to do to be open to God making you a saint? I am trying.

Think of an extraordinary woman who has affected your life. Who was she and why has she been important to you? Maisi Sirois, for her amazing creative talent, for her willingness to try new things, for her acceptance of me. I think also of my mom, of the life that she led. While she was alive I really didn’t understand. Now that she is gone, I understand more about the choices she made.

Look up these Scripture passages about Mary. What one quality of Mary do you admire in each passage?

1. Luke 1:26-38 Annunciation – That she recognized that the message came from God and that she was willing to do whatever He asked, no matter the cost. A woman of great courage and convictions who loved God.

2. Luke 1:39-56 Visitation – I have thought about this a lot. Mary’s generosity in visiting her elder cousin, perhaps being of assistance to her. Did Elizabeth also receive a visit from an angel or a message from the Lord announcing that Mary would be the one to carry Christ? By this time (when Luke interviewed Mary) Elizabeth was deceased, so there was no way to know. Besides the story was about Jesus not about John.

3. John 2:1-12 Wedding at Cana – Mary’s confidence that God would answer her request. I have thought about this event quite a bit as well. Perhaps the couple to be married or one or more of their parents were friends of Mary or Joseph. She was there at the wedding helping to serve the guests. Mary would know when the wine was running out. Mary could enter into the feelings of the married couple, feel their pain and embarrassment should the wine run out. So naturally Mary wanted to help stave off the embarrassment.

4. John 19:25-27 – Standing by the Cross – True devastation, sorrow, pain for her Son, disbelief that people could want to hurt Him so, wanting to spend every last minute with Him no matter the cost – as at His conception she was willing to accept the cost, not even thinking about herself, about what she would do to live.

How could you imitate one of Mary’s qualities in your life? Visiting the sick or elderly which I have done, writing to Aunt Mary, Lucy or others who are alone and ill, trying to accept what God asks of me no matter the cost to myself – not an easy task which I struggle with every day. Some days I am able to do those things, some days not.

Mary's home in ephesusWhat do you think life was like for Mary, given what we know about her story, her background, her culture, and her environment? IT was a difficult life, one of great hardships, toil and suffering. By the time Mary and Joseph returned to Nazareth after the birth of Jesus, her parents were deceased. Perhaps they were deceased before then; we just don’t know. Mary had to work every day caring for her family by making their meals, cleaning their home, teaching Jesus and watching over Him as he learned and grew – worried over Him if He were sick or hurt, making and washing their clothing and helping in whatever way Joseph needed. Perhaps she had to secure their food by going to the market, drawing water from the town well and carrying it home each day. She and her family made do with little. She attended synagogue on the Sabbath and prayed each and every day, perhaps all through the day. Perhaps she helped other new mothers give birth, cared for the ill in her community as well. So little is known about her life. Yet we know that outwardly she seemed an ordinary 1st Jewish woman. But she was something altogether amazing.

 

 

RCIA Lesson 2 Questions

This session is entitled “Catholics and the Bible, Scripture and Tradition, How Catholics Interpret the Bible

 

1.If you were stranded on a desert island, what book would you want to have with you? Why? – It would be easy to put here some silly answer, like a book on boat building, or living off the land, or indigenous species of tropical islands (assuming it was a tropical island). But suppose there were no wood or no way of getting off the island, suppose you were alone and lonely for human companionship. What then? Suppose there was plenty to eat that could be easily picked up and there were plenty of shelters and no wild animals or dangers. Then what? The obvious answer would be a Bible, for it would connect you with your heritage, with someone whom you knew was there on the tropical island with you.

2.Three questions to ask a lector – I have emailed Marianne Bruett for answers.

 

3. Choose a verse from the Bible and look it up in at least two different translations. How are the translations different? John 16:1

Ignatius: I have said all this to you to keep you from falling away.

Jerusalem: I have told you all this so that your faith may not be shaken.

NRSV: I have said these things to you to keep you from stumbling.

4. Old and New Testament: Exodus 19:3-8 What did God promise in this covenant? If the Israelites obey God and keep His covenant, they will be His treasured possession, a priestly kingdom and a holy nation.

Hebrews 10:15-18 What are some of the promises of the New Covenant? God will write His laws on our hearts and on our minds. He will remember our sins no more.

5.Describe an agreement between you and God. How does this covenant affect you? In my baptism my parents spoke for me, accepting God’s covenant of love for me. I am required to fulfill his commandments, doing my best to avoid sin. In return God promises me eternal life.

6.How do we make our Bible ours? Underlining important passages that speak to us. Reading it often. Holy cards to keep our place.

7.Have you ever been misinterpreted? What would have improved understanding?  I have been. Though I have changed the way that I speak, I still am misunderstood. Sometimes people have their own agenda. There are words which set them off and once they hear that word or words, they don’t hear anything else.

8.Name a current expression that could be misunderstood in another place or time. Italian Cherry Tart.

9.Name a favorite custom or tradition of yours. How could this be misinterpreted by someone from another place or time?

10.Notes of commentary. How does that affect your interpretation of the passage? It adds to the understanding, sometimes it shows me that I am thinking about it incorrectly.

11.What do you think of when you hear the word Church? I think of the building, the priest, the people, all together worshiping God. (A community of all those who have been drawn into the life of God., continuing presence of Christ leading people to the vision of God, people with one soul – the Holy Spirit dwelling in their hearts.)

12. Colossians 1:18 – He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that he might come to have first place in everything.

13.1 Peter 2:9-10 -But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

14.So now you  are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone.

15.1 Corinthians 3:9 – For we are God’s servants, working together; you are God’s field, God’s building.

16.1 Timothy 3:15- If I am delayed, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and bulwark of the truth.

17. Galatians 3:28- There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave nor free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.

18. As a member of the body of Christ, which part are you? Why? Sometimes I am the part which speaks, sometimes the part which listens. Sometimes I am the part which comforts, and sometimes the part that forgives. Sometimes I am the part that prays and sometimes the part that loves. Sometimes I am the part which touches, sometimes I am the part which blesses.

 

RCIA answers to questions, first class

Yesterday Larry and I went to the first of 6 RCIA classes. I wanted to know more about my faith. Larry wanted to know more so that he might more fully participate in the faith. I have prayed for this. One thing that I thought I would do is answer the questions which the brochures we were given ask of us.

1. Write down things that you have faith in: God exists; the sun will rise tomorrow; all humans have a limited lifespan including me; my parents loved me; God loves me as shown through the life and sacrifice of Jesus; God hears my prayers;

2. What does the Bible tell us about faith?

1 Peter 1;7–so that the genuineness of your faith – being more precious than gold that, though perishable, is tested by fire – may be found to result in praise and glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.

Mark 9:23 – Jesus said to him: “If you are able! All things can be done for the one who has faith. ”

Matthew 17:20 – He said to them:  “Because of your little faith. For truly I tell you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, Move from here to there and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.”

Matthew 21:22 – “Whatever you ask for in prayer with faith, you will receive.”

Galatians 3:26-28 – for in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith. As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothes yourselves with Christ. There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male or female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.

Hebrews 11:6 – And without faith it is impossible to please God, for whoever would approach him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.

1 Peter 1:9 – for you are receiving the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

1 John 5:4 – for whatever is born of God conquers the world. And this is the victory that conquers the world, our faith.

How do we break out of fear, mistrust, and lack of faith? Think of something that you’re trying very hard to control in your life. It could be a person, a situation, anything. – I have thought about the relationships with the leadership group at Bible study. Kim was the hardest person because I thought of her as so strong-willed and who had a facility with language. Then last summer she signed up for the Adoration hour ahead of mine. Every time I went to the chapel, she was there. I had to look at the back of her head, see her smile at me when she left. I finally realized that God placed her there to make me come to terms with it. I had to love her maybe even like her, at least change my attitude to her, in order to move forward in my love for God. When I realized the God had placed her there, it was easier to forgive, to get past the stumbling block I had placed between us.

Now think of one small thing about this situation that you can give up and turn over to God – I give God the credit for making the relationship easier, for making me see what He wants and be willing to be obedient to Him. Maybe my relationship with the Stramecki’s could be done the same. I had hoped a couple of months ago to not contact them again, I was so hurt by what Ted said. I give that relationship to God. Please help me to let go of my need to control what happens. Let them be who they are, thought it angers me, and let God take care of bringing them back to the faith, if that is what He wants. Let go of my need to have the relationship that I thought we had before.

What do you need to have more faith in? – I need more faith in God, that He will help me with my problems, that He will help me grow closer to Him. I need to relinquish control of situations with others and let God do His work.

What would happen in your life if you did believe more? – Relationships would be less stressful. I wouldn’t worry so much about how things are going or if I am doing what I need to do. Maybe I wouldn’t need to judge others motives. I could just accept compliments as being true.

What does your lifestyle say about what you believe? – I have been married a long time. That shows that I place value in the relationship. I attend Mass every week, and sometimes daily Mass and I go to Confession and Communion often. That shows that I want to grow in my faith. I give to support the Church and charitable organizations. That shows that I want to do good as Jesus taught. I read the Bible, spend time in Adoration, study and pray. That shows I am serious about my faith.

New Paintings

After almost two years, I have started painting again. The first painting of the red flowers was inspired by a shadow on the window blind one morning. Although it is not my best work or even one I particularly like, it is a good “new beginning”. The painting is a bit brighter than it appears on this page, and it is a full sized sheet of watercolor paper.

red flowers

The second painting which I completed is from a drawing of daisies I had done years ago. I remember doing a colored pencil drawing from this design. That drawing hangs on the wall in my studio. This painting is about half the size of the first. Again this is not a great painting, as I see things about it which I would have done differently. It is a happy painting.

daisy painting une 2013