No, YOU’RE sad that the Jubliee Year of Mercy is ending

No, YOU’RE sad that the Jubliee Year of Mercy is ending

I’m not sure exactly why, but the closing of the Jubilee Year of Mercy has been a wee bit emotional for me. It’s not like I didn’t take advantage of its graces. It’s not like I was surprised that the end of the Year was coming. It’s not like, just because the Year of Mercy is over, that the Vatican will announce some other, non-Holy Spirit-inspired “Year.” See Larry’s post if you want to laugh about the possibilities.

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(c) 2016 Real Catholic Mom. Photo Credit – Mary Lenaburg

Maybe this year has been so personal for me because, in all humility, I often feel like the Poster Child for mercy. Trust me – that’s not a point of pride – simply the way things are. Glory to Christ the King, however, I once was lost (very, very lost), but now I am found. I once was blind, but now I see. And now you have the song “Amazing Grace” running through your mind. You’re welcome. 😉

Friends, there’s a reason Rembrandt’s Return of the Prodigal Son has hung in our home for many years. There’s a reason I asked for a Divine Mercy image for my birthday a few years back. These pieces of art are certainly not trophies, my friends, nor are they meant to make my home look like a Catholic bookstore. Rather, along with other items in my life, these pictures are frequent reminders of where I’ve been, but most importantly, how far I’ve been able to come through the almighty grace of God, acts of the will, and, in no small measure, God’s infinite, unfathomable mercy.

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Upon further reflection, I suppose I’m grateful (and gratified) that God’s omnipresent mercy is significant and worthy of keen focus in the greater Church, not just in my own life. Maybe that’s it. That’s gotta be it.

As we near the end of this amazing Year, let’s keep in mind that God’s mercy (and our ability to give and receive it) is not a lightswitch – something to be flipped on and off. Mercy is at the very heart of our Christian walk. Let’s keep the mercy flowing, friends. Lord knows I need it. And I would hazard to guess that perhaps you do, too.

Keep scrolling for one of Papa Francesco’s recent tweets, the Closing Prayer for the Jubliee Year, and video for the commercial that made me cry. For reals.


May the balm of mercy reach everyone, both believers and those far away, as a sign that the Kingdom of God is already present in our midst! – Pope Francis @pontifex via Twitter


CLOSING PRAYER
PRAYER FOR THE JUBILEE YEAR OF MERCY

Lord Jesus Christ, you have taught us to be merciful like the heavenly Father, and have told us that whoever sees you sees Him.
Show us your face and we will be saved. Your loving gaze freed Zacchaeus and Matthew from being enslaved by money; the adulteress and Magdalene from seeking happiness only in created things; made Peter weep after his betrayal, and assured Paradise to the repentant thief. Let us hear, as if addressed to each one of us, the words that you spoke to the Samaritan woman: “If you knew the gift of God!”
You are the visible face of the invisible Father, of the God who manifests his power above all by forgiveness and mercy: let the Church be your visible face in the world, its Lord risen and glorified. You willed that your ministers would also be clothed in weakness in order that they may feel compassion for those in ignorance and error: let everyone who approaches them feel sought after, loved, and forgiven by God.Send your Spirit and consecrate every one of us with its anointing, so that the Jubilee of Mercy may be a year of grace from the Lord, and your Church, with renewed enthusiasm, may bring good news to the poor, proclaim liberty to captives and the oppressed, and restore sight to the blind.
We ask this of you, Lord Jesus, through the intercession of Mary, Mother of Mercy, you who live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit for ever and ever.

Amen. +


And here’s the commercial that, I admit, made me cry. I was just minding my own business, watching football with my husband. Man!! #peace


Vintage RCM: The Catholic Mom’s “Drop-Kicked Into Reality” Prayer

Vintage RCM: The Catholic Mom’s “Drop-Kicked Into Reality” Prayer

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Originally published after Edel ’14, the truths and sentiments behind this prayer are timeless. While Edel’s impact on my life resonates so much more deeply than these few sentences can convey, here’s my offering of support for my sisters once we’re back in “the real world.” The best, my friends, is yet to come. <3

The Catholic Mom’s “Drop-Kicked Into Reality” Prayer

Dear Lord Jesus, King of rowdy, stubborn children, Redeemer of questionable smells and short tempers, Savior of misplaced shoes, boo boos, messy kitchens, blowout diapers, endless dishes (and laundry and more laundry), double-booked activities, practices and lessons, burned food, cold coffee, clogged toilets, and uniquely depleted Moms, I earnestly pray that the grace received through our Edel experience sustains me as I build my domestic cathedral in the hidden recesses of my home. May I reach out to my Edel sisters for unconditional support and encouragement because, after all, they *know.* May I please, dear Jesus, not allow my sister to drown in plain sight when I sense she is in need. But most importantly, Lord, may I seek You, before and above all else because, when everything is said and done (or necessarily left undone), YOU’ve got this, Lord – You’ve got me, my family, and allllll the beautiful messiness that is my life in the palm of Your hand because You love me as if I were your one and only. I offer all I say and do for Your glory through the intercession of the best Mom around, our Blessed Mother Mary. In Jesus’ Name – Amen!

+Venerable Edel Quinn, Pray for Us!+

{SQT} So Much Awesome, So Little Time

{SQT} So Much Awesome, So Little Time

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Sometimes life is so busy you don’t even have time to catch your breath and tell anyone what’s going on. Thank God for the opportunity, a day late (natch), to exhale for a minute (brushed my teeth – promise!) and share some of the incredible stuff that’s been happening in my little corner of the world.

 1. 

Recording with these ladies was a tremendous blessing. We laughed waaaaay more than is likely legal in the contiguous United States and abroad, yet we still managed to complete everything on our production schedule (thank You, Holy Spirit!). I’m so incredibly grateful to them for their generous friendship and I’m especially excited to spill even more beans about The Visitation Project in late April.

 2.  

And that’s a wrap for our first round of recording – time to celebrate! Bottoms up!

 3.  

The last few weeks have been so great, but honestly, also pretty stressful for me. There’s a ton of stuff I feel called to do, but I don’t want my family to suffer, you know? Although I worked outside the home the majority of our marriage, I’ve been a SAHM the past two-plus years, and it appears I’d forgotten the specific struggles working-outside-the-home Mamas face. My hat is off to those valiant women who work outside the home and still manage to hold everything together en casa. Ladies, I salute you, and pray God blesses the work of your (seriously full) hands.

 4.  

Taken at a local Lenten prayer retreat … So beautiful, meaningful, and necessary during this penitential time of the year.

 5.  

The Rock and Worship Road Show with Mr. Matt “I speak Elvish” Maher and the glowing Shaina.

 6. 

 The Enforcer and I took turns attending a days-long Lenten Mission led by our dear brother in Christ, Richard Lane. We even took the whole kit and kaboodle to Adoration and Benediction the second-to-last-night, and against all odds, there were no casualties!

 7. 

    
After so much awesomeness and no real sign of the jam-packed “to-do” list letting up anytime soon, I was grateful to steal away for a little while to our beloved local retreat house not once but twice this week – yesterday with just my babies and our friend with her babies, and today with the whole family. I’ve always felt it to be a place of genuine refuge, and today’s visit, albeit super brief, didn’t disappoint because (of course!) God is faithful.

Bottom line? No doubt I’m an incredibly blessed child of God. I pray for the grace to wholeheartedly glorify Almighty God, the Giver of all good gifts, through all the various times and seasons of my life.

Until next time,

Peace.

heather

Linking up with the ultra-rad homeschooling, Whole30ing, mic-dropping Kelly Mantoan at This Ain’t the Lyceum. See what other amazing people are writing about right here.

Rejoice. And be free. {My testimony at BiS}

Rejoice. And be free. {My testimony at BiS}

Several weeks ago, when I saw the request, “Can anyone write the devotion for March 7?” it was as if something supernatural compelled me to respond in the affirmative despite my crazy schedule. “I will,” I responded, half-cringing and silently chiding myself for my lack of self-restraint. But then I read the Mass readings upon which I would write my reflection: “as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us” from the Psalm, and the story of the Prodigal Son – and I almost laughed out loud.

I shook my head with disbelief and then a knowing smile. Man, I thought. I guess it’s time to share my story. Okay, God. Here we go.

Today I share a little piece of my story – a glimpse into how I was seeking God in all the wrong places, yet He beckoned me to journey more closely with Him in spite of my rebellious sinfulness and doubt. 

What He said next forever changed me. Referring to His saving mercy, His redemptive suffering, His unique and total love for me, a wretched sinner, He imparted this command: “RejoiceAnd be free.”

I welcome you to read the rest of today’s reflection at my home-away-from-home.

God bless you as you seek to rejoice in Him, and be free.



The day Love showed up

The day Love showed up

Today was just going to be one of those days. I’m sure you know the sort.

The baby crawled into bed with me at way-too-early o’clock and proceeded to kick me like he was auditioning for The Rockettes for the next hour.

My back let me know in no uncertain terms while I was changing said baby that it would go out on me without any provocation WHATsoever.

There was no coffee in the house – zilchnot even instant (and exactly how was I supposed to manage my domestic church, let alone fight the zombie apocalypse, without any caffeine???)

The cute new toaster burned my toast and, adding insult to injury, somehow managed to indiscriminately catapult the aforementioned charred slice into the dust bunny village on the floor between the refrigerator and the counter. Woof.

The dishwasher, in complete and utter disregard for my wishes to the contrary, flatly refused to load itself (what was its damage, anyway??).

Everyone wanted my snack (despite the fact that they’d already been fed, and I’d finally managed to scrape the last 1/16 cup of vanilla yogurt into a bowl for myself).

And, to top it off, my attempt to pleasantly yet firmly instruct the children to sort, fold, and put away their freshly-laundered clothing was apparently akin to torture that sent at least half of the beleaguered tykes into an ongoing screeching ritual so cacophonous that even a howler monkey would have grabbed his earplugs and headed for the hills.

But wait – there’s more! Other songs on this broken record included: Who Was Staring at Whom, She Smashed My Finger, Spilled Milk Dripping on the Hardwood Floor, and The Inconsiderate Booger Wiping Incident.

Then …

Something happened.

Somehow my desperate prayers (half-hissed through clenched teeth ranging in content from “help me bear this gracefully,” to “get me the heck out of here!“) were answered in an unexpectedly precious way.

Towards the latter part of my craptastic afternoon, I heard a quiet knock upon my bedroom door. Standing there, wearing who-knows-what ensemble undoubtedly inspired by the movie The Croods, was my first-born son. “Mommy?” he queried. “Yes,” I responded, half-listening as I smoothed the comforter down over the foot of my bed. “This is for you,” he said, as he handed me a slightly wrinkled piece of paper.

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Ohhh …”  I breathed, half whispering to this sweet, precious boy, who has long been an effective balm for his mama’s weary heart, and half addressing The One Who knew exactly what I needed at exactly this moment in time. “Thank you so, so, so much. I love you, too.

I hugged my son for longer than was probably comfortable for him, but if he was bothered by it, he mercifully didn’t let on.

Because of this precious moment with my little man – one fleeting piece of kairos in an otherwise jumbled-up mess of a chronos sort of day – I realized that perhaps it was not just one of those days after all; maybe it was something much, much better …

… a day when Love showed up.

 

“This is the day the Lord has made – let us rejoice and be glad.”

-Psalm 118:24