Sacred Heart, Refuge for Families

So many people I know have been suffering from acute stress!

The words of Our Lord to St. Margaret Mary in 1673 are ever so relevant today:

“And you, dear souls, why this coldness and indifference… Do I not know that family cares… household concerns… and the requirements of your position in life… make continual calls upon you?… But cannot you spare a few minutes in which to come and prove your affection and your gratitude?… spare a few moments to visit and receive [in Communion] this Prisoner of Love! Were you weak or ill in body, surely you would find time to see a doctor who would cure you? Come, then, to One Who is able to give both strength and health to your soul, and [One Who] watches for you, calls for you, and longs to see you at His side.”

“The Blessed Sacrament is the Invention of Love. It [the Blessed Sacrament] is life and fortitude for souls, a remedy for every fault, and viaticum for the last passage from time to eternity. In it, sinners recover life for their souls; tepid souls true warmth, fervent souls tranquility…saintly souls wings to fly toward perfection…pure souls sweet honey…”
Dearly loved souls, come and learn from your Model that the one thing necessary is surrender to God’s will in humble submission and by a supreme act of the will to accomplish the will of God whatever the circumstances may be. Learn from Him that all important action should be preceded and vivified by prayer, for only in prayer can a soul obtain the strength needed in life’s difficulties. In prayer, God will communicate, will counsel and will inspire.”

“O souls that I love, I [suffered] to teach you not to faint under your burdens. Never count them as useless, even if you are unable to reckon the result. Submit your judgment and leave the divine will free to do with you whatsoever it wills…remain in My peace. I am always with you even when you do not see Me.”

“Behold this Heart, which has so loved men that It has spared nothing, even to exhausting and consuming Itself, in order to testify Its love. In return, I receive from the greater part [of humanity] only ingratitude, by their irreverence and sacrilege, and by the coldness and contempt they have for Me in this Sacrament of Love” [Holy Communion]. It is for this reason I ask thee that the first Friday after the octave of the Blessed Sacrament, be appropriated to a special feast to honor My Heart by receiving Communion on that day, and making reparation for the indignity that It [My Heart] has received. And I promise that My Heart shall dilate to pour out abundantly the influences of My Love on all who will render It this honor or will obtain My Heart being given this honor.”

Jesus is the answer for our families! In His Sacred Heart we find refuge and strength.  Please consider making a covenant of love with Jesus by declaring Him King of your heart and you home.  The times that we live in are so difficult.  Families need these extra graces to weather the storms of life.

Recently, the seminarians at Notre Dame in New Orleans were given a framed print of the Sacred Heart of Jesus to enthrone in their rooms, a beautiful prayer by Fr. Bill Gaitley and a copy of my book, The  11889641_732610193535048_7762897668090383064_n 11903906_732610180201716_5524799379453712801_nAnswer for Families.  Thanks to the Sacred Heart Apostolate, newly ordained priests will know about this powerful devotion that can strengthen and heal New Orleans’ families.

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Reflections on the Readings for Sunday, August 30, 2015

Readings for Sunday, August 30

In today’s readings, God calls us to truly live the gospel – not just read it!  It is easy for us to read about Jesus fussing at the Pharisees and think to ourselves, “Those rotten Pharisees.”  If we think that we are better than them, then we are acting like them.  Jesus is not only correcting them sternly and repeatedly, He is giving us instruction on how to live our faith as well.

In the world we live in, there is so much emphasis on physical appearance.  There are literally thousands of products and procedures guaranteed to turn the clock back!  It is such a temptation to fall into making appearance a top priority, as society almost shuns the old, the fat, the wrinkled, etc.  The gospel reminds us that it is of the utmost importance to spend more time and effort working on that which is everlasting – our soul.  For all eternity, we will live on in either heaven or hell.  That’s one LONG TERM commitment.  We need to see ourselves as God sees us!  We need to spend time beautifying our insides.

How do we make our insides beautiful?  It’s rather simple.  The more time we spend with God in His Holy Word, Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament and the Holy Spirit in prayer, the more we will become like Him.  He that is pure is the only one who can purify us and make us clean vessels – so that He may live within us, fill us – and so that we may bring His love to the world around us Sooooo desperately in need of Him!!

I shared this video with my students this past week.  I think that it especially speaks to message of the second reading today.  I hope that you enjoy it and are inspired:)

Matthew West video, “Do Something.”

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Amazing Video Recapping the Bible – Enjoy!

Life Teen 2011 The Bible in Music

You won’t want to miss this!

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Heart Tissue from a Consecrated Host

The story of a modern day Eucharistic miracleimages

In the Eucharist, Jesus literally gives us His heart!

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Histamine Overload

imagesI’ve been on an eating journey, so to speak.  About a year and a half ago, my family cut the GMO’s out of our diet.  Genetically Modified Foods can cause tumors in lab rats.  They have worked their way into nearly all of our pre-packaged and convenience foods.  The  crops that have been most tampered with in our country are corn and soy.  We stopped purchasing foods that had corn or soy on the label that were not organic.

Then, my husband began a modified paleo diet on the advise of his doctor.  He had to cut out all “white” items from his menu – no rice, potatoes, pasta or bread.  Ouch!  That hurt.  In order to make cooking more simple and to be supportive, the family began eating this way – at least for dinner when we all sit down together.  Our grocery bill increased as we were forced to purchase a lot more lean meat and fresh produce.  My husband began losing pounds immediately.

Next, one night when I was up with night sweats, itching and restless legs, I took to the computer looking for answers for myself.  I stumbled upon a blog where the woman unbelievably described all of my ongoing symptoms (years worth!):
* Migraine  *Flushing *Arrhythmia ( irregular heart beat)
*Low blood pressure-due to vasodilation caused by the histamine
(*Runny nose *Heartburn-due to increased acid production) not so much for me
*Persistent itching- typically of the skin – often without a rash
* PMS- Headaches around the menstrual cycle or painful cramps due to histamine               induced contractions in relation to hormone levels *Infertility*Fatigue *Restless Leg   Syndrome*Dry Cough*Anxiety*Bloating…

Oh my goodness!  I know it is not good to self diagnose using the internet, but this sounded like a page from my medical history!  I learned that the body can go into histamine overload due to stress.  Uh!  Hello!  I learned that the hormonal fluctuations of pre-menopause can cause it.  Hello again!  Long term use of anti depressants can cause the body to make less of an enzyme that breaks down histamines naturally.  I’ve had this mysterious upper arm itching, dry cough and restless leg syndrome for years – on and off.   I’ve had all kinds of testing done – all negative.

Histamine overload is not a food allergy.  It will not register on a food allergy scratch test or blood test.  Modifying my diet to reduce histamine intake on top of trying to eat GMO free has been difficult.   There are so many foods that are high in histamine.  These were the staples of my diet:

yogurt, olive, pickles, chocolate, nuts (other than almonds), spinach, tomatoes, wine, tea, dried fruit, cheese, avocado, leftovers, fish (unless it’s freshly caught)…and the list goes on!  Oh how I miss the cheese and chocolate!

For a month now, I’ve eliminated these items from my diet.  Tough – but the symptoms – itching, coughing and restless legs – and migraines (come to think of it) have greatly improved!   Now, I’m reintroducing some of the offending foods on a limited basis – being careful not to overdo it – especially during periods of great stress.  I’ve had to reintroduce some foods in small quantities in order to get enough calories each day. I also have an enzyme supplement that I can take to help break down histamine in the body when I partake of a “cheat meal” on occasion.  I really do feel better!

If you are suffering annoying symptoms that are making you feel lousy, don’t give up searching for an answer.  Just because doctors cannot find an explanation for your symptoms doesn’t mean that they’re all in your head.  Our bodies are wonderful complex machines, and doctors have limited expertise.  Don’t underestimate the effect that nutrition – good or bad – has on the body.  Food is a powerful tool (that you have within your control) to improve your overall health and well-being.

Here are a couple of articles I found helpful:

http://theceliacmd.com/2014/03/histamine-intolerance-causing-symptoms/

http://www.diagnosisdiet.com/histamine-intolerance/

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True Love

Pretty Cool!  Will be using this with my kiddos!

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So Nice to Meet You!

Unknown-1Yesterday, I made a new friend!  Each day, I start my classes with the gospel, saint of the day and prayer.  When sharing this with my students, I learned a few things that I did not know about St. John Eudes.  (Actually, I didn’t know much about him at all, since he is not one of the most know Saint Johns.)  He was from France, like my great, great grandparents.  He cared for those affected with the plague tirelessly.  So as not to infect his fellow priests, he lived, for a time, in a hut in the middle of an open field.  His passion was in starting seminaries for the formation of more young priests.  What a great guy, right?

The thing that I was most excited about, however, was to learn of His passion for the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary.  I have a new friend to intercede for me and for families.  With his prayers, as well as the intercession of Fr. Mateo Crawley-Boevey, St. Pius X and St. Margaret Mary, I pray that the Enthronement of the Sacred Heart will transform and sanctify families in our community, in our country and in our world!!

Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us!  Be the King of our hearts, our homes and our families.  Sanctify, fortify and protect us from all evil!  Amen.

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Numbers on the Rise!

An email I received today from Catholic League entitled, “Chaput Effect Explains Spike in Seminarians” captured my interest.   The author noted that when Archbishop Chaput was in Denver, there was a notable increase in seminarians.  Now that the Archbishop is in Philadelphia, the number there has risen as well. I wonder why that might be so.

For years the number of seminarians in our own Archdiocese of New Orleans waned, but it has increased in recent years to a wonderful 126 currently studying for the priesthood!

I did some internet research and found this information from “The National Catholic Register’s” site:

The top dioceses with the most anticipated ordinands to the priesthood in 2015 were:

Archdiocese of Chicago 14

Diocese of Paterson, N.J. 14

Archdiocese of Newark, N.J. 12

Diocese of Brooklyn, N.Y. 11

Archdiocese of New York 10

Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Mo. 9

Diocese of Arlington, Va. 8

Diocese of Lincoln, Neb. 8

Archdiocese of Los Angeles 8

Archdiocese of Portland, Ore. 8

Diocese of Santa Fe, N.M. 8

Archdiocese of Washington 8

Diocese of Worcester, Mass. 8

According to the Website for the Archdiocese of Nashville, there were approximately 595 men ordained in 2015 across the United States – that is a reported increase of about 25% from the previous year.

It is so encouraging to see the number of ordinations increasing, especially when being a priest seems more difficult than ever.  There was the ugly sex-abuse scandal whose pall still lingers.  Our priests are spread so thin with many parish duties – well over and above ministry and administration of the sacraments.  Our culture as a whole does not look favorably on the selflessness and celibacy required of priests.  Humanism, agnosticism, relativism and a bunch of other “isms” have taken a strangling hold on our youth – and even some old folks who should know better.  Often even “good Catholic” moms and dads will discourage a son from a vocation to the priesthood, because they fear for his reputation and even his life.

Our priests deserve and need our prayerful support.  Remember that it is from their hands that we receive Jesus.  We must never take this for granted.  Many work tirelessly and selflessly for those entrusted to their care.  Let us pray that they may be strengthened during these most difficult of times by God’s grace to remain faithful to their call and to shepherd God’s people.

I’ve heard it said that parishes that have perpetual adoration chapels produce more vocations than those without them.  I couldn’t find any statistics to support this, however in an article in the St. Louis Review, Msgr. Michael Butler said, “They go hand in hand, really, vocations and Eucharistic adoration.”

It makes sense to me.  Sadly missing from our noisy, fast-paced lives is SILENCE.  Everyone is walking around with their phone in their ears.  When we don’t have our phones in our ears, the text, email notifications and social media updates are constantly chiming.  I know people who are a nervous wreck when they are separated from their phones for more than a few minutes.  This is not an optimal climate for discernment of any kind!

I think that there are a few things needed to increase vocations within a parish or diocese.  First and foremost is the joyful example of a priest in love with the Lord.  When these priests make it a priority to interact with the youth of the parish, the children can see that a priestly vocation can be very fulfilling – and cool!  The priests become persons the youth want to emulate, and the seed is planted.

Parishes and schools need to make it a practice to pray daily for vocations.  Children need to know that we as a Church are praying that they will hear God’s voice in their hearts and answer that call – whatever that may be, and that we support them if they hear the call to be a religious – without reservation!

Finally, parishes should be practicing Eucharistic adoration for vocations.  If a 24 hour adoration chapel is a possibility, resources should be allocated to make it happen.  Chapels provide the silence we crave – the silence needed to cultivate a deeper relationship with Christ – and possibly a religious vocation.  In parishes where this is not possible, regular hours of exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and adoration should be scheduled and participation encouraged.

I have great hope for the Church of the future.  I teach teens who are still very interested in learning about their faith despite all of the junk that enters their senses through technology and the media.  Perhaps it is because of all of this trash that they are seeking Truth even more fervently than ever.

If the newly ordained priests in the Archdiocese of New Orleans these past few years are any indication of where we are headed as a Church, I’d say that the future is looking bright!  God has raised up courageous, holy men to help His people weather the difficult times ahead.  Thank you, Fathers, for answering the call!

PLEASE Pray for our priests &  pray for vocations!

Here’s a link to a wonderful website for priestly vocations in the Archdiocese of New Orleans.

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Reflections on the Readings for Sunday, August 16, 2015

readings for Sunday, August 16   images

The first reading is a personification of wisdom.  In the description of wisdom, the words knowledge and understanding were also used.  These three gifts of the Holy Spirit are very similar.  I wondered exactly how they differ, so I consulted my computer dictionary.

New Oxford Dictionary:

wisdom – the quality of having experience, knowledge, and good judgment; the soundness of an action or decision with regard to the application of such experience, knowledge, and good judgment

knowledge – facts, information, and skills acquired by a person through experience or education; the theoretical or practical understanding of a subject

understanding – the power of abstract thought; intellect; an individual’s perception or judgment of a situation

In the second reading, Paul is addressing the Ephesians, however, it seems as though he could just as well be speaking to us here in the year 2015:

“Watch carefully how you live,
not as foolish persons but as wise,
making the most of the opportunity,
because the days are evil.”

Sometimes it seems as though that amount of evil in our world is unprecedented!  The advice Paul gives is still relevant.  Live as wise persons making the most of the opportunity…  We can ask God to strengthening us through the sacraments, through prayer and fasting.  We can ask for an increase of the gifts of the Holy Spirit within us.  We can ask St. Michael and the angels to shield us and our loved ones from the forces of evil.  We should use our sacramentals like holy water and pray the rosary often.  Pope Pius XI said, “The Rosary is a powerful weapon to put the demons to flight and to keep oneself from sin…If you desire peace in your hearts, in your homes, and in your country, assemble each evening to recite the Rosary. Let not even one day pass without saying it, no matter how burdened you may be with many cares and labors.”
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In the gospel today, Jesus leaves absolutely no room for interpretation.  He doesn’t tell a parable, or speak figuratively.  He says very plainly and firmly, “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him…Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day.”  His body and blood is made present – the supreme gift of Himself to us- on the altar at every mass.  So why aren’t people flocking to mass in droves?

I can’t help but think that if Catholics truly believed that the Eucharist is Jesus’ flesh for the life of the world, many would approach the sacrament differently.  Honestly, why were the altar rails taken out of churches?  Doesn’t it seem only fitting to approach and to receive our King on our knees?  If we really believed that the Eucharist is Jesus’ flesh, would He be left alone in churches and chapels, or would there be lines around the block waiting to get in to see Him?  If we truly believed, wouldn’t we want to be as sin free and in a state of grace before taking Him into our bodies?

You know that Jesus was born in Bethlehem.  Do you know that Bethlehem means “house of bread?”  I don’t think this is a coincidence!  He is the bread come down from heaven – the bread that comes with the promise of everlasting life as proclaimed in our gospel today!  Let us worship Him in the Blessed Sacrament.  Let us treasure Him.  Let us never take this incredible gift and grace for granted!

I’m attaching an amazing video for your discernment.

For further information on this Eucharistic miracle, here is an article on this reputable, Catholic website.

milagro_eucaristico_tixtla

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Happy Feast Day, Momma!

Holy is His Name by John Michael Talbot (The Magnificat)

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