Thursday, March 22, 2018

PRAYER OPENS DOORS....ask, seek, knock


To ask, to seek and to knock at the door to find the answer to that question Archbishop
Banach challenged us with... 
"What Grace does God want to give you this Lenten Season?"
God is so Good and knows exactly what is needed, and shows up on time with the answers!
Sharing with my friend from Maine about this challenge, Ginny said "I've got  some thing for you
that spoke to me and part of the reading from the Magnificat article may be for you."
I had decided to do something more challenging than "giving up chocolate", so to speak;
and I didn't give up chocolate but knew there was something that the Spirit was 
calling me to, just didn't know, until I read what Ginny sent...
written by Father Leonce De Grandmaison S. J.

"Mortification in this case consists in acting against our timidity by forcing ourselves
to come out of our shells, exposing ourselves to blows, and speaking as if we had some
self-confidence. We  must be ready to risk small failures; to step forward when it is fitting;
to let others know our faults (which is far better than hiding them).
Above all, the mortification of timidity is a matter of cultivating a great, courageous,
apostolic soul, so that Christ may reach his full stature within us and not be
circumscribed,as it were, in our pettiness.
The secret of success here is to think less of ourselves and more of God and of 
His mother."

I knew immediately that this was to be my walk... not only for Lent...
this would be a challenge that may take a long steps...
a few steps forward and a couple steps back. Sr. Marie Dugas always said "that's how 
we get to heaven!"
I gave my Amen!
So the walk began, a few steps forward...okay, I acknowledged that all the Graces were 
needed and God showed up for me in His abundance...
the first being a nine day "Novena of Grace" to honor St. Francis Xavier, held at St. John's
in Worcester with my friend Marie.
There was so many more occasions of Grace that were experienced during the novena
that need sharing...
more to come! 


"Lord Jesus, open the doors that need to be opened,
and close the doors that need to be closed!"

Archbishop Michael Banach, in his challenge to us through the 
"Call to Holiness" presentation,and as a Lenten homily,left us to
ask the question, "What Grace does God wish to give me this Lent?"
A friend, new to the actions of the Holy Spirit, asked "what is Grace?"
"Oh Brother!," I thought..."I am supposed to be prepared to give an answer
to what I believe!" and not wanting to lead her astray, all I could  answer
at the moment was,"Grace is a gift from God by the power of the Holy Spirit."
Was that enough? No!
 There was more conversation and another question! So it seemed I
needed more certainty as to what was the answer to her query. I said,
 "The Catechism of the Catholic Church will have the best answer and I will
get back to you."
You will find a succinct explanation listed under the Life of Christ #1996 
in the Catechism, very easy to follows, simply put...
"is a free and undeserved gift that God gives us to respond to our vocation to
eternal life, to become His adopted children!"
As "Sanctifying Grace"God shares His divine life and friendship with us in 
a "habitual gift,"a stable and natural disposition that enables us to live with 
God, and to act by His love.
He prepares us to receive these graces, which is already a  gift.
 As "Actual Grace,"God gives us help to conform to His will.
"Sacramental Graces" are special graces, gifts or (charisms from the Holy Spirit)
gifts proper to the different sacraments...meaning favor...and may be extraordinary,such as gifts 
of miracles,etc. to be at the service of charity to build up  the Church.   Romans 12:6-8

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

A CALL TO HOLINESS...Archbishop Michael Banach


Archbishop Michael Banach graciously joined us at St Joseph's Parish Church
and after the celebration of Mass we received a Lenten reflection on 
the Call to Be Holy!
His heartfelt talk focused upon five elements of approaching the Lenten season.
His approach was lighthearted and easily received.
He let us know that the child within each of us will be met by God wherever
 we happen to be in our walk with Jesus!
"Our only obligation in loving God is to grow!," he said.
To my mind, that meant constant growth all the way into eternity.
"Growth" he said "is the call to holiness!"

#1. What Does Lent Offer Us?
 A PAUSE... for a little while... to see what is...
To listen to the words and voice of the other...
to look into the eyes and faces of the others...
to see and sense, in that pause, the presence of grace...
to feel the breath of God...
to return to the Father of all Graces...

#2. What Does Lent Mean?
To be washed clean,
A chance TO 
To Renew our faith...
To prepare for a Joyful Resurrection!

#3. TO RETURN with your whole heart!
"But now, now---it is Yahweh who speaks---
come back to me with all your heart,
fasting, weeping, mourning"
God is full of love!
Let negligence be washed away!

#4 THE CROSS is the Universal call to holiness and Life!
He said,"Do not be afraid of the Cross he gives us,
discover that cross and carry it with Him"

#5 "KNOW that you are loved!"
"Experience the Joy by offering yourself to others!
Find someone more miserable than yourself...come out
from your own sadness and find Joy!"

SEEK and ASK, he said," What is the GRACE God wants to give me?"
Let God "open the doors to the Grace and the Joy He has in store for you!"

"This day I have given you two choices set before you,
life or death, blessings or curses;
therefore, choose Life that you and your seed may live!"
Deuteronomy 30;19,20

Friday, February 23, 2018

THE ANAWIM.. the remnant...little ones


Fr. Larry trained our group from St.Joseph's Church with the methods of how to teach children
the Catholic Catechism.  In the 1980's, some of us  were new and learning as we went along,
 others were there for the new certification that was required, as the Bishop requested.
Fr. Larry was actually explaining some of the biblical background that he thought we needed. 
This was all new to me!
Our pastor had put a book in my hands with the lessons to teach the children, and simply said,
"Just keep a week ahead of the kids, and come to me with any questions."
I needed this help!
Fr. Larry was talking about the "anawim". They were the littlest fish... the remnant people
faithful to God, living His precepts as best they could.
Something struck a cord and I was listening intently... he said that they  were the "little ones"
who could and did make a difference.
I have always loved and cherished the thoughts of God's "remnant" and the "anawim," Those
faithful few that He could count on to help Him to try and save a town like Sodom and Gamorra! 
They were begging for those souls to be saved! 
And that brought me to believe that there always exists those in every generation, those
 that please God's favor enough to appease His Justice.
I can honestly say that I have prayed that prayer of salvation at times, but I didn't consider
myself as part of the "little ones", the anawim, who could make such a difference...
until recently, when some thing very remarkable happened !

We have spoken about our "mind" being the battleground, and that the evil one would like to
  take over the mind and seed the thoughts of rebellion, pride, and control, denying God's will.
We know and understand that God's Word is alive and active when spoken in the 
Light of the Holy Spirit and His WORD  has power to guide, convert, heal and /or convict us gently.
And scripture warns and teaches that we need "to bring every thought  captive 
into the obedience of Jesus Christ."(2nd Corinthians 10 : verse 4.)
It is a big battle that needs to be faced and may take lots of perseverance in prayer
before experiencing results.

One day recently, while washing the dishes, a concern for one of my sons entered into my mind,
 and it brought me into a thoughtful conversation with God the Father. In my thoughts,
 I asked the Father for a blessing upon Don, my son, this day and in this moment.
In the space of a phone texted me a message,"Thanks for the prayer, mom!"


I continue to wonder in the face of that happening...
the sheer enormity and scope of the MAJESTY of GOD!
His loving existence throughout the Universe!!!
That He hears each voice, answers each plea...
He is here... and He is the same time Present everywhere!
 GOD'S THOUGHTS, so far above our thoughts,
 GOD'S ways, so far beyond our ways.

Silencing our small and ego minds, we must attempt. A loving God
 comes to our aid when we decide to take the first step.
The battleground is the mind...
Silencing our "ego"minds we must pray to do!
How else can we become the anawim, 
the little ones, that can make a difference in this world ?
How else could we pray and ask to "put on the mind of Christ?"
And if we don't ask... how will we receive?


Thursday, February 15, 2018

THE MASTER, Ben Franklin

                                                  Benjamin Malachi Franklin
 Our lives are but fine weavings
that God and we prepare.
Each life becomes a fabric planned
and fashioned in His care.
We may not always see just how
the weavings intertwine,
but we must trust the Master's hand
and follow His design.
For He can view the pattern
from the upper side,
While we must look from underneath
and trust in Him to guide.
Sometimes a strand of sorrow
is added to His plan,
and though it's difficult for us,
we all must understand
that it's He who fills the shuttle,
It's He who knows what's best.
So we must weave in patience
and leave to Him the rest...
Not till the loom is silent
and the shuttles cease to fly
shall God unroll the canvas
and explain the reason why-
The dark threads are as needed
In the Weaver's skillful hand
and the threads of gold and silver
In the pattern He has planned.

Friday, February 9, 2018



'Twas from a far off land I came
With roots of pride, fear and shame.
All those who paved the way before
Sailed far across to distant shore.

Pilgrim hearts ablaze with love
Sought their guidance from Above
Un-stifled now, began anew
To build in Spirit and renew the 
Freedoms that were once withdrawn.

They toiled and grew, lived and died
To leave a heritage of strength abide.
Yet all the while, a spirit grew and
Waited to emerge anew.

Now the time has circled 'round
What once was lost is to be found.
Our Freedom's won in ages past
to worship God may see it's last
If we give in and fail to right 
The same decrees that spurred our might.

So take the banner, once again,
Stand proud with those who had the dream!
Let not us be denied our due
To live, to love and worship True!

Jean Hopkins Mahan

ANCESTRY ROOTS ...continued: A Path of Light!


Just recently,a  link had been discovered that connected
the members of our family tree to  the year 1642, and beyond.
 What a revelation !
There they names... dates ...movements from state to state...
 their gifts...sacrifices...resourcefulness...perseverance...service to
humanity...strength of spirit!  
It all opened up before us and was a little overwhelming to see!

Something else deeper,something that cannot be seen, began speaking to me
about our lineage and the lives of each person from whom we carry 
forward the same DNA makeup.
Their spirits are carried forth into each of our generations as gifts and strengths,
along with many negative weaknesses and character defects...also!

Many years earlier, in the late nineteen eighties, my "Journey" was focused
upon the healing of our family tree. This came as a result of an interest of past family members
 and a desire was stirred from a discovery of one of those family"skeletons hidden 
in the closet" that was never acknowledged or discussed in our family and had
 left many deep scars .
 Those wounds needed to be  uncovered and placed into the Light of Christ
where forgiveness and healing could happen.
There was something  their that brought anguish from deep within me.
God knew what it was. 
Something deep within the psyche. Something hidden that could not be touched
 with  or by human means.
What was it???



Many years ago, after Evening  Prayer, as I sat quietly alone,
words began to flood through my mind...
not my words, not my own thoughts!
"What is happening here?" I thought.
I reached for pen and paper and began to write...

Jesus sought to walk His path of Light
through darkened tunnels of my night.
My anguished heart cried out to Love's own Face
to heal the wounds the years did trace
upon this child.
 Left to seek her own pursuits, she stumbled, fell
to rise again and find she had a destiny.

Can it be true that Love and Light
would lead onward toward the Night
so dark, so deep, so filled with fright?

Yes, it is true that Light pervades the
deepest pool where unknown forces seek to rule.
Our heritage of Adam's root gives way to Word
that cuts the ties of sin and death...
of fear and lies and shame.
The Word of God does  enter in
to places no one else has been!

Creation once more takes It's part
in patient stillness from the heart.
It was all so new, I dare to say "the Lord has been there
faithfully,since first I sought Him in my prayer."

Then, came a time when I knew the Light would
shine all through those darkened ways to make me new!
It is another step with Him, who opens to Eternity...
And I my Lord did see with eyes of faith given me...
His hands,His feet were nailed and torn
for me to rise on Easter morn!

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

ROOTS OF ANCESTRY...each one called...


Both you and I, each one, are heirs of the Kingdom
and heirs of the spiritual gifts of Jesus Christ.

 Yesterday , my daughter Karen called, all happy and
excited about a new discovery; a find, a link forward to our 
ancestral family tree roots, dating  into the 1600's.
In my childhood days, time spent with my Nana Hopkins, my father's mother,
there were stories and reminders that our origins here in America began
from that ship that brought the English from England over the ocean in the Mayflower. 
The stories included a relative, a prominent man, who helped the Pilgrims settle and 
befriended the Indians there...and we might even have Indian blood in our genes!
As a child, wow, that sounded so awesome, but were they just telling a story, or
was it true?
Well, the story goes that a Mr. Munsey, also a descendant of the family, 
who owned a printing company, published a copy of our, so called, history.
The family supposedly had, and  owned that one copy!
These stories stayed with me and were passed on to our children and grandchildren.
One day, our grandson Ryan and later, our grandson Jesse, were asked by their teachers
to interview a grandparent. They each had a list of prepared questions to ask 
 that brought out memories of those childhood stories once again.
That may have been what prompted me to go into research of the past generations history
 and  enter a phase of the  generational Healing of our Family Tree.

As we sat at the kitchen table together, in front of Karen's  opened computer,
all the Hopkins men and our past families became real!
Family from families past.Unwoven treasures of our inheritance!
She had discovered the "link"that connected us to 1642 and beyond!
What a more ways than one!
There was something even deeper going on  that was not being grasped 
at the moment!