Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Top 10 Favorite Postings from 2013

Dear Friends,
First Children's Rosary in Sulphur, Louisiana

At the close of 2013 there is much to be thankful for.  This year has brought many new Children’s Rosary groups spreading across 5 continents.  We saw the first copy of the Children’s Rosary book..the closure of Neumann Press ending our books short run of availability and then the wonderful solution Our Lady led us to which was having the students at the American School for the Deaf help to print the books in their vocational print shop.  Through the help of many members we had the Children’s Rosary book translated into Spanish and also published.  We had the introduction of our Spanish Children’s Rosary website: www.rosariodeninos.org  Most recently we had the beautiful gift of our Children’s Rosary song: Rosary Children which was recorded and can be heard on our Spanish website (release of a CD is scheduled for early 2014).

The Children who traveled to the Basilica of the
Immaculate Conception in Washington DC
Other wonderful blessings for our group included the children leading a Children’s Rosary at the Little Audrey Santo Eucharistic and Prolife Conference, a special Rosary on Father’s Day at My Father’s Retreat House in Moodus, Connecticut and this fall traveling by bus to Washington DC to lead a Children’s Rosary at the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception.  Yet maybe the greatest gift of all are the prayers that have floated up to heaven from each of these children carried by Our Blessed Mother and presented to her Son.  The true effect and importance of these prayers may never be known to us in this life.

First Children's Rosary meeting in Nairobi, Kenya
In looking back over the year I wanted to share some favorite posts from Our Blog.  Some may have found us recently and may not have seen some of these postings.  Each one has been chosen for a different reason.  Some mark a particular milestone others share stories of grace and inspiration.  My top choice of the year is a post that recently I went back to after many months.  After reading it again I found such consolation in it and have found that spiritually I am never far from the feelings shared in it.  I give it the top place as I pray it may help another soul feeling the same thing.

(three separate posts but are part of a story so to speak)

Honorable mentions:
First Children's Rosary at Our Lady of Fatima Parish in Timor Leste

Looking forward to the new year I am reminded of a portion of the Gospel of John:
“The wind blows where it wills, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know whence it comes or whither it goes; so it is with every one who is born of the Spirit." (John 3:8)

The words of the Gospel seem to assure us that there is little use in spending time trying to predict the direction the Holy Spirit will carry something.  One only has to be ready for the Spirit to open the door and then be ready to move with it. As we enter this year there is no way of knowing where the Spirit will carry the Children's Rosary or each one of us.  Yet we take our Rosaries in hand and pray that the Lord will guide each step and send his Mother to always keep a firm hand on the other end of our rosaries that we may always be moving closer to Him.

Mass Offered Tomorrow for Seminarians

As part of our prayer initiative to pray for seminarians there will be a Mass offered tomorrow for all seminarians that they may grow in holiness and lead us in love.  Recently in the interview with Fr. Apostoli about the Children's Rosary he mentioned that he felt his own priestly vocation came from praying the Rosary as a child. While our prayer intitiative this year is to pray for seminarians there is also an awareness that within our Children's Rosary groups there are children listening more closely to the call of their Heavenly Father.  With the seminarians they are praying for might they too find themselves following a similar path and when they do won't they be so happy to have little children praying for them as well that they may progress in holiness and lead all in love.  May this year be full of blessings and protection for our dear seminarians.  May they find Our Lord in a deeper way and always find consolation from their Heavenly Mother who loves them. Amen.

Beautiful Story of Encouragement

Recently I received an email from one of the Children's Rosary group leaders.  She was commenting on a post she had read on the Children's Rosary website.  The post was in part about the 1 year St. Bridget Prayers.  For those who are not familiar with these prayers these are daily prayers said for one year honoring the blows Our Lord suffered during His passion.  If the prayers are said every day by the end of one year each blow will have been honored. The prayers have 15 promises attached to them although they are not covered by an imprimatur.  Thus I did not include them on our blog.

This group leader who wrote to me shared a beautiful story about the St. Bridget prayers and her father.  I have asked her permission to share it with all of you which she granted.

The story begins while Sandy was pregnant with her 6th child.  She said her husband asked her something when she was pregnant.  He asked if he could pick the name of their new baby.  As they had shared in picking names for their prior 5 children she quickly answered yes as it seemed very important to him.  As the months passed he had decided on a boys name but he was still unsure of a girls name.  She prayed very hard for her husband that the Lord would guide his choice for their child.  On one of their last trips to the doctor for a check up on the baby her husband said he had a name.  He asked her if she liked the name Bridget.  He said he couldn't get the name out of his head.  The name Bridget was not a family name nor one either had ever mentioned in the past but it was a beautiful name.  After the doctors appointment  Sandy went into her father's room to check on him as he was suffering from advanced Parkinson's Disease.  When she entered his room he had a little prayer book.  She asked him what he was praying and he said the St. Bridget prayers.  At that moment she felt in heart that this was why her husband had not been able to get the name Bridget out of his head. Several weeks later a little girl was born and they named her...Bridget.

Sandy shared another interesting part to the story.  Over a year later when her father had become very sick he was brought to the hospital.  As an aspiration precaution, he was not allowed to consume any liquids or foods by mouth.  He was on a respirator and as such, his mouth was often open and very dry.  A nun in his last months would often come to the room and asked if she could place just one drop of the precious blood on his tongue. As his mouth was so dry, it was a wonderful gift both in giving some relief from his parched mouth and the beautiful gift of the blood placed almost daily for his spiritual strength while suffering so greatly.

Sandy shared that upon reading the post about St. Bridget and the prayers she looked up the promises.  One of the promises specifically mentions the gift of the precious blood 15 days before ones death.  As it is unusual to receive the precious blood in many churches and even more uncommon to have it brought to the hospital it seemed a wonderful gift. Sandy shared that although the prayers at first seemed very lengthy when she had seen them in her father's hands now looking at them they did not seem so daunting.  Instead she felt a renewed call to pray them but not just for herself but as a family.  She asked her children and they too wanted to join in.  Even little Bridget would be saying them, too.  The family decided this would be their Christmas present to Jesus this year.

The story does not end here.  In receiving Sany's note I too re-read the post on St. Bridget and in speaking to Sandy she mentioned there are additional St. Bridget prayers  which last 12 years and honor the 7 times Jesus spilled His blood for us.  I had heard about these prayers previously but now as she spoke of them there was a thirst in my heart to begin them.  As we are finishing our Consecration to Jesus through Mary tomorrow (January 1st) a wonderful idea came.  Wouldn't it be wonderful to begin such a journey with Our Lord in contemplation of his suffering after finishing this wonderful journey of Consecration.  For Our Lady is always pointing toward her Son.  She prays at the foot of the Cross. In beginning such a journey this would be a way to join Our Blessed Mother at the foot of the Cross and honor the sacrifice her Son, Jesus, made for all of us.  Today being New Years Eve there was an urgency in my heart to write this post as I wondered if others of you might also want to begin either the 1 year St. Bridget prayers or the 12 year St. Bridget prayers.

A special thank you to Sandy for sharing such a beautiful story with us.  As we walk on this journey of faith it is such a gift to have others walking in prayer with us.  For the Lord often works through such people encouraging us and helping us.

If you would like to read the post on St. Bridget that Sandy mentions click here.

Image courtesy of Most Precious Blood Catholic Church Chorpus Christi, Texas.

St. Bridget's 12 Year Prayers

Prayers Honoring the 7 Times Jesus Spilled His Precious Blood for Us, as Revealed by Our Lady to St. Bridget, and Approved by Pope Clement XII

Many may be farmiliar with the 12 St. Bridget prayers which are said for 1 year and honor each blow Jesus received during His passion.  Some time ago I heard of the 12 year prayers of St. Bridget.  These prayers honor the 7 times Jesus spilled his precious blood for us. Recently, one of the members of the Children's Rosary brought them to my attention again.  In reading about them there is a feeling that I would like to begin these prayers on January 1st  2014.  There are promises attached to these prayers which are included below.  The promises are beautiful and one may wonder at such incredible generosity from Our Lord.  Yet such gifts underscore the importance of spending time daily with Our Lord praying and honoring his life and passion.  

It is my prayer today that those reading this post may also have a thirst within their heart to begin this 12 year journey of prayer with Our Lord. Amen.
Our Lord made these promises to anyone who recited/prayed these
Prayers for 12 entire years*:

1. The soul who prays them will suffer no Purgatory.
2. The soul who prays them will be accepted among the Martyrs as though he had spilled his blood for his faith.
3. The soul who prays them can choose three others whom Jesus will then keep in a state of grace sufficient to become holy.
4. No one in the four successive generations of the soul who prays them will be lost.
5. The soul who prays them will be made conscious of his death one month in advance. *
If the soul praying these prayers dies before the entire 12 years of prayers have been completed, 
the Lord will accept them as having been prayed in their entirety, because the intention of the soul as to complete them as directed. If a day or a few days are missed due to a valid reason, they can be made up for later, at the soul's earliest opportunity.

The 12 Year Prayers:
O Jesus, now I wish to pray the Lord's Prayer seven times in unity with the love with which You sanctified this prayer in Your Heart. Take it from my lips into Your Divine Heart. Improve and complete it so much that it brings as much honor and joy to the Trinity as You granted it on earth with this prayer. May these pour upon Your Holy Humanity in Glorification to Your Painful Wounds and the Precious Blood that You spilled for them.
First Prayer: The Circumcision
Pray 1 Our Father, 1 Hail Mary, then:
Eternal Father, through Mary's unblemished hands and the Divine Heart of Jesus, I offer You the first wounds, the first pains, and the first Bloodshed as atonement for my and all of humanity's sins of youth, as protection against the first mortal sin, especially among my relatives.
Second Prayer: The Suffering on the Mount of Olives
Pray 1 Our Father, 1 Hail Mary, then:
Eternal Father, through Mary's unblemished hands and the Divine Heart of Jesus, I offer You the terrifying suffering of Jesus' Heart on the Mount of Olives and every drop of His Bloody Sweat as atonement for my and all of humanity's sins of the heart, as protection against such sins and for the spreading of Divine and brotherly Love.
Third Prayer: The Flogging
Pray 1 Our Father, 1 Hail Mary, then:
Eternal Father, through Mary's unblemished hands and the Divine Heart of Jesus, I offer You the many thousands of Wounds, the gruesome Pains, and the Precious Blood of the Flogging as atonement for my and all of humanity's sins of the Flesh, as protection against such sins and the preservation of innocence, especially among my relatives.
Fourth Prayer: The Crowning of Thorns
Pray 1 Our Father, 1 Hail Mary, then:
Eternal Father, through Mary's unblemished hands and the Divine Heart of Jesus, I offer You the Wounds, the Pains, and the Precious Blood of Jesus' Holy Head from the Crowning with Thorns as atonement for my and all of humanity's sins of the Spirit, as protection against such sins and the spreading of Christ's kingdom here on earth.
Fifth Prayer: The Carrying of the Cross
Pray 1 Our Father, 1 Hail Mary, then:
Eternal Father, through Mary's unblemished hands and the Divine Heart of Jesus, I offer You the Sufferings on the way of the Cross, especially His Holy Wound on His Shoulder and its Precious Blood as atonement for my and all of humanity's rebellion against the Cross, every grumbling against Your Holy Arrangements and all other sins of the tongue, as protection against such sins and for true love of the Cross.
Sixth Prayer: The Crucifixion
Pray 1 Our Father, 1 Hail Mary, then:
Eternal Father, through Mary's unblemished hands and the Divine Heart of Jesus, I offer You Your Son on the Cross, His Nailing and Raising, His Wounds on the Hands and Feet and the three streams of His Precious Blood that poured forth from these for us, His extreme tortures of the Body and Soul, His precious Death and its non-bleeding Renewal in all Holy Masses on earth as atonement for all wounds against vows and regulations within the Orders, as reparation for my and all of the world's sins, for the sick and the dying, for all holy priests and laymen, for the Holy Father's intentions toward the restoration of Christian families, for the strengthening of Faith, for our country and unity among all nations in Christ and His Church, as well as for the Diaspora.
Seventh Prayer: The Piercing of Jesus' Side
Pray 1 Our Father, 1 Hail Mary, then:
Eternal Father, accept as worthy, for the needs of the Holy Church and as atonement for the sins of all Mankind, the Precious Blood and Water which poured forth from the Wound of Jesus' Divine Heart. Be gracious and merciful toward us. Blood of Christ, the last precious content of His Holy Heart, wash me of all my and others' guilt of sin! Water from the Side of Christ, wash me clean of all punishments for sin and extinguish the flames of Purgatory for me and for all the Poor Souls. Amen.

You may also enjoy the following related posts:
A Beautiful story of Encouragement
Feast of St. Bridget

Monday, December 30, 2013

How Can One Draw Himself Away From the Love of the World?

“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If any one loves the world, love for the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the pride of life, is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world passes away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides for ever”.(1 John 2:15-17) 

This was part of the first reading at Mass today the 6th day of Christmas.

How does one draw himself away from the love of the world and the desires of the flesh?  Our Blessed Mother provides a beautiful and straight path to lead our hearts away from this world and toward Heaven which is the true home we seek.  Her answer can be found in faithful prayer of the Rosary.

Our Blessed Mother explains in the promises given to St. Dominic to those who faithfully pray the Rosary:

It will cause virtue and good works to flourish; it will obtain for souls the abundant mercy of God; it will withdraw the hearts of men from the love of the world and its vanities, and will lift them to the desire of eternal things. Oh, that souls would sanctify themselves by this means.

These promises attached to the Rosary have an Imprimatur.  The promise listed above is just one of 15 promises to those who pray the Rosary.  The Rosary is such a rich source of grace.  Each mystery of the Rosary has a spiritual fruit associated with it.  The Annunciation (the first joyful mystery) yields humility, the Visitation increases love of neighbor and the third joyful mystery the Nativity increases poverty.  The poverty which is referred is often interpreted as poverty of Spirit.  It is the drawing of the Spirit away from the world and increasing desires of things above. It is an emptying of oneself  and allowing Our Lord to fill us. Yes it is so wonderful that this fruit which so beautifully helps us achieve what is called for today in this Christmas reading should come from contemplation of the birth of Christ through the prayers of the Rosary.  

A complete list of the 15 promises of the Rosary can be found by scrolling to the end of the list of our Children's Rosary groups.  To see the list click here.

Image of Mary and Jesus courtesy of: http://www.catholic-convert.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/07/MaryWithBaby.jpg

Sixth Day of Christmas

Pope Francis on Christmas Eve
Join the Children today in prayer of the Holy Rosary.  The Children's Rosary at St. John the Evangelist Church in Mahopac, NY will meet at 4:30PM EST today in front of the Blessed Sacrament.  The Children always pray for those unifying prayers with them.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Parents Need the Prayers of the Their Children

Three sisters who are triplets asking Our Lord to bless their Parents
before a Children's Rosary
Very often you hear parents talking about praying for their children.  Often these prayers develop in ernest as the child enters adulthood and a parent watches their child traveling down a path of spiritual or temporal danger.  Yet what about parents.  Do we need prayers too?  
Placing intentions before Our Blessed Mother
to bring before her Son.
As a struggling mom of three I often find myself in want of more love for my children and patience.  Today on the Feast of the Holy Family there is a renewed call to strengthen our families and try to the extent we can to be like the Holy Family.  The path to holiness within a family requires prayers both as a family and prayers of parents for their children and the children for their parents.  Recently at one of Our Children's Rosary meetings triplet girls age 5 joined us for the Rosary.  They came with their younger brother, their father and grandmother.  These sweet little girls were the first ones to arrive and quickly began filling out intention sheets to place before Our Blessed Mother that would be prayed over during the Children's Rosary.  The first person all three were asking for prayers for was their mom.  With more time before the Children's Rosary started they filled out a second intention sheet this time for their dad.  It was such a beautiful sight to see these little girls praying for their parents.  Our Lord knows that with triplets and a younger brother these parents have their hands full and need prayers.  Yet it is a struggle for all parents to raise children especially these days.  

Some quiet time of prayer before the
Children's Rosary begins
One of the ways that the Children's Rosary supports families is to bring these little children to prayer with their heavenly Mother and pray in a special way for their parents and families.  These prayers of the little children are very strong and welcomed by Our Lord for He said "let the Children come to me, do not prevent them for the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these."(Mark 10:14-15)

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Feast of the Holy Family

Feast of the Holy Family Dec 29th
During the Octave of Christmas the Feast days come one after the other.  It is such a blessed time of the year one might become overwhelmed.  However, the Feast of the Holy Family is something that deserves particular attention.  Something that I became aware of at least a year after the Children's Rosary formed was that the chapel where the first meeting of the Children's Rosary was held is named after the Holy Family.  In our parish we rarely call it by its formal name the Holy Family Chapel but rather call it simply our chapel and so its true name was not known to me until over a year ago.  In reflection it seemed a perfect home for the Children's Rosary.  For children are the heart of the family and the family is the lungs of the Church.  If our families are strong then our church will be strong.  And so I could see the wisdom of Our Lord in bringing the children to prayer in a space dedicated to the Holy Family.  Through these little innocent prayers the coals in our families of love and peace would be stoked and a renewed commitment to family prayer would begin. 

Tomorrow we are blessed to have three Children's Rosary groups meeting:
The Children's Rosary at Our Lady and St. Patrick's Church in Nottingham, England will meet at 8:45 AM local time.
The Children's Rosary at St. Margaret of Scotland in Waterbury, Connecticut will meet at 10 AM EST.
The Children's Rosary at St. Thomas Church in Thomaston, Connecticut will meet at 11AM EST.

Please consider joining the children in prayer.  The children always pray for those unifying prayers with them.

Today's Prayer:
In a special way Lord, we pray for all of our families.  Lord, we struggle to follow your example and ask that you help us that all of our families may mirror the Holy Family.  We ask this through Christ Our Lord. Amen.  

Friday, December 27, 2013

Feast of the Holy Innocents

Feast of the Holy Innocents
December 28th 
On this Feast where we honor the innocent children killed by King Herod after the birth of Jesus it seems particularly beautiful that we have a little Children's Rosary group meeting tomorrow at 9AM Pacific time at St. Mary's Church in Corvallis, Oregon.  Please consider joining the children either at the Church or from your home.  The children always pray for those unifying prayers with them.

Our Consecration Journey

We Are Almost There....

On November 29th many members of the Children's Rosary began a 33 Day Total Consecration to Jesus through Mary.  Following in the footsteps of such spiritual giants as St. Louis de Montfort, St. Maximillian Kolbe, Blessed Mother Teresa, and Bl. John Paul II we began a journey of contemplation and prayer which will end on the Feast of Mary Mother of God on January 1st.  Although the 33 Day Consecration can be done leading up to any Marian Feast members of the Children's Rosary were invited to join together in this spiritual journey leading up to the January 1st Feast.  In so many ways it seemed perfectly suited as this would be ushering in a new year. 

Pope John Paul II
The timing of the daily readings so beautifully mirrored the Church calendar as we spent several days appreciating the Immaculate Conception through the writings of St. Maximillian Kolbe and this perfectly coincided with the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. These little gifts were like little sweet smelling flowers found along the way.

Members of the Children's Rosary were invited to join in a practice that saints and Popes have lauded as life changing.  One mother whose children are members of the Children's Rosary came up to me after Mass a week into the consecration. She said her children love the readings and they even wanted to read ahead.  They were doing it as a family. Her children are approximately 9 and 11.  Two of my own children who had done the St. Louis de Montfort consecration with me last spring began this re-consecration by doing the readings alone.  They are 9 and 13.  However, they came to me after just a few days and asked that I read it to them.  This began an evening routine of reading from our little consecration book.  The readings are short approximately one page.  We would do the readings after our rosaries and it was much more meaningful doing it together.

While I had hoped to successfully get the word out about this Consecration before Nov 29th I know there are many members who may not have seen the postings or had time to get the supplies.  Do not worry.  There are many more wonderful opportunities to do this 33 Day Consecration.  One could begin January 9th and conclude February 11th on the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes. Another possible start date is February 20th which concludes March 25th on the Annunciation. Free materials for the consecration can be obtained within the US and Canada through www.myconsecration.org

For those of you unfamiliar with Consecration to Jesus through Mary it has been blessed and supported by Cardinal Justin Rigali, Bishops and Pope Benedict XVI. Blessed John Paul II urged Catholics to make this Act of Entrustment, which involves ten minutes of private prayer daily, for 33 days, in your home.  Many may be familiar with Totus Tuus which was John Paul’s papal motto. It is a Latin phrase meaning "totally yours" and expressed his personal Consecration to Jesus through Mary.

The book we used is called 33 Days to Morning Glory by Fr. Michael Gaitley.This is just one of several consecration formats and if you feel more comfortable with another format this is fine.  
Other posts you may find interesting:
33 Days to Morning Glory

Fr. Arthur Murphy

Remembering a Holy Priest and a Good Friend
Children's Rosary August 12th 2012
Fr. Murphy is pictured in the middle in the wheelchair

Fr. Murphy passed away December 20th 2013.  He was the retired pastor of St. Thomas the Apostle Parish in West Hartford, Connecticut.  Fr. Moran who has spent many years together with Fr. Murphy at our parish shared that upon receiving news of His passing the next song to come on the radio was: I'll be Home for Christmas.  Yes, there were many special things about the timing of his passing.  His brother shared during the funeral that 20 years earlier to the day and at the exact same hour Fr. Murphy's mother had been laid to rest.  

Fr. Murphy was a very special priest.  He had served the Church as a priest for over 50 years.  He had a wonderful peace and was remembered for his unending patience.  This is a virtue I find very hard to exemplify so to see it so beautifully in action is truly an inspiration. Fr. Murphy's call for help for our parish several years ago was the call that brought the Children's Rosary into existence.  He came before parishioners asking for help for the parish as it was in a financial crisis.  After one request from the altar and still the difficult times persisted in humility he returned again asking for our help.  Hearing the request a second time, in prayer an inspiration came to bring our children to prayer for our parish.  A letter requesting permission for the children to meet was sent to Fr. Murphy and he responded by giving permission for the children to meet.  His yes began the Children's Rosary prayer group movement. 

Fr. Murphy was always very supportive of the Children's Rosary and despite his failing health he tried to join the children whenever he could for our monthly meetings.  At the end of the Rosary he would lift his hands and bless all the children and families.  Fr. Murphy had a wonderful Irish blessing he was fond of giving:

May the road rise to meet you. May the wind be always at your back. May the sunshine warm your face, the rain fall soft upon your fields And until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of his hand. Amen.

In the final weeks before his death I had the opportunity to visit him at St. Mary's home.  Despite a long road of illness his spirits were good.  He was staying in a simple room but he was very happy that he had been given permission to hang a crucifix on the wall.  I asked him if he could hear my confession.  After the confession,  Fr. Murphy shared that he had an opportunity to spend more time with Our Lord on the Cross. He asked me to also spend more time with Our Lord contemplating His passion. It is hard to relate the way this was conveyed but there was a deep sense that Fr. Murphy was in a very close place with Our Lord and was sharing insights and graces that were in a special way being given to him at that time in his life. 

Several days after seeing him for the last time he celebrated his birthday on November 26th. One of the members of the Children's Rosary brought him the booklet 33 Days to Morning Glory.  It was the 33 Day consecration to Jesus through Mary that the Children's Rosary was joining together to do beginning on November 29th and concluding on January 1st.  I had meant to give him a book myself and was so relieved to hear a friend and member of the Children's Rosary had given it to him on his birthday.  He was excited to receive it and join us in the Consecration.  At the wake on December 22 as I neared the casket I could see several of his special personal items laying out which included a crucifix and several pictures.  Amongst those things was the book 33 Days to Morning Glory.  It was a wonderful thing to see that at the time of His passing he was in the middle of the Consecration.  Another beautiful blessing was the unexpected visit the Icon of Our Lady of Czestochowa made to our parish the day before his passing.  It was as if Our Lady had come to give her dear priest, who had served the Church for over 50 years, a tender kiss and show him that she would be watching over the parish.  Our Lord and Our Lady are so good to us.  We are so grateful to them for such a wonderful and holy priest in Fr. Murphy.

Other posts you may enjoy:
How the Children's Rosary began
33 Day Consecration to Jesus though Mary
Children's Rosary welcomes Our Lady of Czestochowa

Thursday, December 26, 2013

A True Christmas Story

Several weeks ago on a Friday during Advent my mom and I stopped at a Bagel Shop.  We approached the counter and order bagels for lunch and picked three bags of last nights bagels which were half price.  After we told the cashier our order, she said thank you, you are all set.  I was confused by this answer and told her that I had not yet payed.  She said you are all set...PAY IT FORWARD.  My confused look brought on her explanation that someone had already payed for our food.  We took our bagels to a booth and wondered who it was that had been so kind as to pay for our lunch.  I wondered if it was someone I knew or could it be a stranger?

Then the next person went to the counter and was told the same thing...Pay it Forward.  

The timing of this act of kindness was at a very tense moment.  My mom and I were having a disagreement and tensions were high.  Also earlier in the morning there had been a request for help that had come.  This request of help came after one attempt to help this person and now there was a second request.  I was thinking about what to do that morning.  The word's of the women at the counter..PAY IT FORWARD spoke right to my heart.  It was as if the Lord Himself had said them.  There would be no mistake I knew what I was being asked to do.

As my mom and I sat eating our bagel, we were relatively silent save for a few comments regarding the unexpected free meal.  If the individual who had given the gift had seen us he or she might have thought this kindness had no effect on us.  My mom commented on the cost of the bill approximately 9 dollars which included the three bags of bagels.  She said, now we have to give the same.  I nodded and quietly ate the bagel.

After my mom dropped me home and left, this kind gesture circled over and over in my head.  I began working on what I was feeling called to do.  Two weeks later my mom was bringing me to the grocery store.  We passed a women ringing a bell collecting money for the salvation army.  My mom stopped,  she pulled out $10.00 to put in the pot.  I tried to stop her as I know what that 10 dollars means to my mom.  It represents half of her budget for groceries in a week as she is disabled and living on a fixed income.  She said no she really wanted to do this as she heard collections for the salvation army were very low this year and she had promised herself she would do this after being given the bagels at the shop.

Wow I was surprised. 

I have hesitated several times in sharing this story but finally decided to do so.  Not to shine any attention on something I might have done but rather on the influence the act of kindness had on those it met.  The kindness had come up against a moment of tension between a mother and a daughter.  It percolated and simmered.  Yet the kindness would not be snubbed out but rather it gained momentum and exponentially grew.  What it drew out came from a want and not an excess in the case of my mother.  I would rather not share what it brought forth in my case but be assured that on Christmas there was word from the individual needing help and the sound in his message was joyful.  

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

A Christmas Surprise

Handmade Christmas Card by Sarah and Matthew
two members of the Children's Rosary from
Corvallis, Oregon USA.
Dear Friends,

Merry Christmas!!

There is a wonderful Christmas surprise which I wanted to share with you.  As many of you may not be aware, this website for the Children's Rosary was begun in February 2012 and was dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Immaculate Heart of Mary.
On the bottom of the page the site records how many people visit the site.  This morning something wonderful happened the register hit 100,000!  This is not the first time that such a gift has been given.  Last spring on Good Friday between the hours of noon and 3PM the register hit 40,000.  As it had taken over a year to reach that number there was no way to plan for such a thing.  

Reflecting on the 100,000 number given on Christmas there is a deep feeling of gratitude that comes for Our Lord for bringing so many people to the Children's Rosary.  Many have shared that by chance they found themselves on our website or by chance heard about this movement from someone else.  All these chance events and today one could say hitting 100,000 during the early hours of Christmas was another chance event.  Yet within my heart this number speaks to the fact that Our Lord is watching every detail.  Nothing goes without His notice.  As we toil and work each day we may not feel His watchful eye or His gentle hand but all along He is there.  Each person brought to us a gift and one given purposefully.  So many of you have worked so hard this year bringing prayers to Our Lord.  Challenges have arisen and yet you have persisted.  Look at this 100,000 and know that this is a gift to everyone who helped this Children's Rosary prayer movement or said a prayer that it would spread to just one more child.  The gift Our Lord is giving us is us bound together in prayer of the Rosary.  Led by his Mother and brought to his very crib.  This gift of so many wonderful children now praying the Rosary for our tired world and so many individuals guarding these children with their prayers.  It is a blessed and wonderful thing to contemplate.  The thought that now at least 40 Children's Rosary groups exist across the globe and almost daily Our Lady can find children coming together to give her a bouquet of prayers to give to her son Jesus.  We began with a simple prayer some time ago that the Children's Rosary would be the extended hands of Our Blessed Mother and her Son and gather a great many souls especially young people for the Lord.  Today I renew this prayer for all of us.

Thank you all for your friendship and your prayers.  May Our Lord Bless you and your family abundantly. Amen.

Your Grateful Friend in Christ,