My thoughts on the Laborers in the Vineyard

Today’s gospel is about the foreman of a vineyard and the laborers.  Remember, he payed the men who worked all day the same as the ones who worked only an hour or two.  Upon first reading it, human emotions of the need for justice/fairness surface.  When we look more closely, however, we see that the parable is really a metaphor for salvation – who gets to go to heaven.

Some people try very hard to live a Christlike life, follow the commandments, care for others and go to church on Sundays.  The life of a Christian can be difficult, for sure, but these folks persevere with and for the love of God. Eventually, they are admitted to heaven.

Then there are those who live a self-centered life, filled with greed and “jerkiness.”  They don’t feel the need for religion or God.  Then when things get rough and life’s fragility is laid bare, they call out to the Lord for forgiveness and help.  We are taught that where there is repentance, there is forgiveness.  So, we can assume that these folks get to go to heaven (eventually) too.

If this seems unfair, we must examine our motives.  Why do we really try to live as God commands?  Is it just to earn a spot in heaven, or is it truly out of love for God and neighbor?  Are we just as concerned about the souls of our brothers and sisters as we are about our own?  Are we willing to make sacrifices for the salvation of others?  Do we demand justice over mercy?

Charles Spurgeon was a Baptist preacher in the late 1800’s.  I don’t agree with all that he spoke, but I do like his quote on concern for others souls:

“Have you no wish for others to be saved? Then you are not saved yourself. Be sure of that.” He continued, “The saving of souls, if a man has once gained love to perishing sinners and his blessed Master, will be an all-absorbing passion to him. It will so carry him away, that he will almost forget himself in the saving of others. He will be like the brave fireman, who cares not for the scorch or the heat, so that he may rescue the poor creature on whom true humanity has set its heart.”

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Recent Reviews

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Thank you for the feedback, ladies!

“I took this book to jury duty. Among the constant noise and commotion I could not put it down.  It is an excellent book with excellent advise. Our family consecrated our home to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary in the 1990s. Looking back maybe that is why we didn’t take in water during the neighborhood flood of 1995.  We were the only house that didn’t wick up the water. We also prayed the family rosary the night before the flood. We have been spiritually blessed in our lives. Glad to give the credit to where the credit belongs.”  L. Kelley

“This book was such an easy read! I planned to read it on a short beach trip with small children (which was impossible) and ended up reading most of the book aloud to my husband while driving home. It was extremely inspiring! It provides an excellent historical overview along with added practical suggestions for building a stronger faith life in the home. It inspired my husband and I to enthrone the Sacred Heart of Jesus in our home. This book would make an excellent gift!”

L. Mansfield

 

 

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Reflection on Today’s Gospel, Sunday, August 17, 2014

christ_canaanite_womanReadings for Sunday, August 17, 2014

I remember when (a few years ago) I read this passage from Matthew’s gospel to my students for the first time.  A few students who were really listening were surprised and perplexed by Jesus’ response to the Canaanite woman.  Not fully understanding the passage myself, I had to go do some research in order to help them.

I understood that the Jews would see this woman as lesser than – or unworthy – because her people were the pagans who historically worshiped idols – not good.  The disciples who were with Jesus found her to be obnoxious and annoying with her pitiful pleas for help.  Jesus did not send the woman away as they requested, yet He was not very warm and friendly with her either.  Perhaps, He was testing her faith by not simply giving into her right away.

I knew Jesus was not simply mild-mannered and “lovey- dovey.”   After all, Jesus demonstrated righteous fury when He toppled the merchants tables when they were selling goods in the Temple.  Our God is a God of mercy and love, but also of justice. However, I still had difficulty reconciling the Jesus in today’s gospel with the Jesus I have come to know.

If today’s gospel left you feeling a bit confused, here are some resources that may help you:

Commentary on the Canaanite Woman’s Faith from BibleGateway

3 Minute Homily on this Gospel from USCCB

Today’s gospel emphasizes the importance of humility before God.  Humility is the foundation of holiness.  We are all called to holiness, therefore, we must conquer our pride and self- centeredness – our need for control and independence.  We must seek to excel in humility so that we may fulfill our call to holiness.

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#100HappyDays

photo 1 photo 1 copy 2 photo 3 photo copy 12 photo copy 17 photo copy 14 photo 2 photo copy 18 photo copy 9  photo copy 11 photo copy 25 photo copy 2 photo copy 3 photoYesterday, we decided at the last minute to leave the household chores behind and go to the Mississippi Gulf Coast just for the day.  We had a blast!  Refreshing!  (Try to ignore the multiple chins in the picture of me and Annie:)

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Back to School Wisdom

Please take a moment to read my latest post at NOLA CATHOLIC EXPERIENCE

regarding our amazing Back To School Retreat.  Thanks!!

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The Importance of Joy

“Joy is a net of love by which you catch souls.”  Mother Theresa

In the hectic, morally corrupt world we live in today, it is very easy to lose our joy.  I’m not speaking as a “Suzie Sunshine” shaming everyone who doesn’t walk around smiling from ear to ear.  I like smiling and greeting those whose paths I cross most days, but occasionally I do get stuck in a rut of depression or sadness.  I think that most people do – it’s part of the human condition.

Joy is important in the life of every Christian.  Without it, we can’t be truly effective witnesses to God’s great love and mercy.  One of my favorite saint quotes is written at the top of this page.  I believe it to be so true.  If one lives a life of joy in Christ, he/she can’t help be a magnet to others searching for happiness but coming up short.

The quest for happiness – it is the thing that every human being in the world has in common – rich, poor, fat, thin, old, young – we all want to be happy.  There are so many people out there looking for fulfillment in jobs, in possessions, in toys, in sex, in self -improvement, in plastic surgery, in other people…the list goes on.  We will only find true joy and true peace in Jesus.

You want joy?  I will tell you where I found it – I found it in Jesus in the Eucharist.  It’s not in just receiving Him at mass, but in spending time with Him in adoration that has truly compounded my joy (and gotten me out of many times of sadness as well).  I cannot recommend it enough!  Adoration gives me the peace and joy I need to go out and smile effortlessly –  and to spread the good news of God’s love to my students and (hopefully) to everyone I meet.  (Working with kids for a living helps too!)images Unknown

We must seek Joy in the right place, nurture it and protect this precious gift.  With joy in the very depths of our hearts, we can weather life’s storms and help Jesus “catch souls.”

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Religion Teacher Heard God’s Whisper: ‘Write’

Please read Christine Bordelon’s article about me in the Clarion Herald, the Archdiocese of New Orleans Catholic Newspaper.  Thanks!

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TMI? Maybe.

Readings for Sunday, August 3, 2014

The readings this Sunday really speak to my weary little soul.  This is the time of year when, as a mom/teacher, I am caught up in the back to school whirlwind.  There are so many preparations to make – both at school and on the home front, and lots of checks to write!

All of our married lives, my husband and I have lived paycheck to paycheck.  We have never had much savings and have sometimes had none.  We often literally live on “a wing and a prayer.”  I am not complaining, as I know that there are many, many folks in the country and in the world who are truly suffering for lack of basic necessities.

The point I wish to make is that God is faithful.  Although things have always been tight, we have never been in need. Whenever things would look bleak, God would somehow miraculously intervene.  His generosity is never outdone, as in the story of the feeding of the 5,000 in today’s gospel.  We have been the beneficiaries of many such multiplications over the years!  If you ever wonder if God still performs miracles today, I can assure you that He does.

My family’s life has been a living testimony to God’s loving providence.  What I’m saying is, don’t be afraid to trust in God completely – to surrender to His will for your life.  When, as a couple, we felt that God was calling us to open our hearts to a third child, we let go and let God.  The blessings we have received have far outweighed any challenges.

Just yesterday, I checked our bank account to see if I had enough money to grocery shop.  I did shop, but knew I’d have to watch what I put into the basket very carefully.  When I got home, I found an unexpected check in the mail for just about the amount that I had spent at the grocery.  God is so good my friends!  So good!  “The hand of the Lord feeds us.  He answers all our needs.”

One last point that I want to bring to the table – my table included – is the need for time with God each day.  At the beginning of today’s gospel, Jesus is feeling overwhelmed and He goes off by Himself to pray.  OK – Jesus is God – and yet, He felt the need for that quiet time with the Father.  How much more, then, must we need that time of communion with God.  This world that we live in is difficult to say the very least.  The devil is busier than ever trying to pull us away from God, from Truth, from Peace.  We cannot let him win over us.  In order to get the peace that God alone can give – to weather these unprecedented morally corrupt times – we must take the time to plug in.  It is not an option!  Here are some suggestions for doing that:

1.  Get up 15 minutes early and read the readings of the day.  Pray.  Listen.

2.  Pop into the adoration chapel or a nearby church.  Just sit in Jesus’ presence.

3.  Set a timer on your phone a few times a day.  Put a prayer card in your pocket.  When the timer goes off, Pray.  Breathe.  Listen.

4.  Take a walk on your break at work, or after work.  Look at the beauty in nature around you – God’s incredible creations.  Talk to God in your heart.  Thank Him.  Listen.

5. Download the Laudate App.  Use it periodically throughout the day!  Play a rosary or divine mercy chaplet podcast when you lay down to sleep.  Put your phone on your bedside table.  Listen.

6.  Pray a scriptural rosary.

7. Take a bath or long shower.  Talk to God.  Thank Him for the clean, warm water.  Listen.

8.  Pull up a beautiful religious picture on your desktop.  Just put yourself in the scene.  Meditate.

9.  Light a holy candle.  Sit and watch the dancing of the flame.  Think about how Jesus is the Light of the World – how He entered into the darkness of our world and illuminated it.  Think about how you live your calling to be a light in this world.  What might God be calling you to at this moment?

10.  Pick up a good, inspirational Catholic book – faithful to the Magisterium.  Be inspired.  Think.  Pray.

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Guess Who I Found at a Bowling Alley?

IMG_6363 IMG_6343 IMG_6309 IMG_6359 IMG_6362Before last night, I had never been to our city’s famous Rock and Bowl.  I must say that I was mighty impressed.  I used to bowl in a league when I was 12.  The smell of cigarette smoke and feet can bring me right back to Bridge Bowl, Journey on the Jukebox and 1979!

Rock and Bowl is so unique.  The ladies bathrooms were clean!  The zydeco music being played from the stage added to festive atmosphere.  There was something about the bowling alley that impressed me most, however.  Do you see who I saw there? Thanks, Uncle Mike!  We passed a good, good time!

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My Last Day of Summer in Pictures

 

IMG_62638:30 a.m. bubble bath IMG_6262Chocolate chip pancakes for my babies IMG_6264Gave myself a haircut – went short and sassy IMG_6273Met my hubby for lunch with the kids  IMG_6272Tried a new candy bar for the first time – awesome!IMG_6274Made a favorite prayer card booklet out of a $1 photo album!!  Thanks, Pat!
IMG_6279I will surely miss this starting tomorrow!  My favorite pastime!IMG_6283Bathed the stinky doggyIMG_6284 IMG_6288Made Mickey and Minnie cake pops with my baby girl while listening and singing along with her to her music

A full, good day.  Goodbye, summer!  How many days until Labor Day?

 

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