Charismatic Prayer

Monday night was the first time in many years that I participated in a Charismatic Prayer Group.

I began my journey with the Charismatic Movement when I was in college at Aquinas.  It was during the heights of the movement; the 1980’s.  The group I was involved with was quite large about twenty young college women so excited to be involved with the movement, ready to receive the Spirit of the Lord.

I remember being very disappointed that I wasn’t “speaking in tongues” as many of the young women were, I am always quiet, saying little, praying silently.  I thought there was something wrong with me, that the Holy Spirit didn’t want me, wasn’t going to “give me” a gift.  It took me many years to understand that I was given a gift, that my style of prayer was just fine, many of my Charismatic mom friends would say that my prayer life “ran deep”; the still waters run deep kinda thing.

I am glad to be back with a group.  The fellowship is wonderful.  Being with people who don’t judge you about your emotional-spiritual life is so reassuring.  The point of the prayer group is to give you a time to be with God, listening for Him and to Him.  In a group you will find a gathering of people who care about what happens in your life, what happens to the world, and the Church as a family.

If you are interested in participating in a Lansing Michigan Charismatic Prayer Group I have provided a list below

Speak to us of children

Lena Levon of Ms Elena Levon Traveling.com came to visit, so I stopped by her blog.  I found on one of her recent posts the meditation of Children written by Kahlil Gibran.

It is my favourite meditation of his and I thought I would share it with you all:

“Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you, and though they are with you, and yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love, but not your thoughts.
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls, for their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward, not tarries with yesterday. “

- Kahlil Gibran
from the book : The Prophet

Labyrinth Walk

The Labyrinth is a prayer walk meditative tool, a walk of quiet meditation.  It is a large circular walk that draws people walking it from the larger outer circle to the smaller inner circle.  The walk is not a puzzle, game or problem to be solved, it is a walk very reminiscent to our own lives.  The outer circle those broader issues, situation, events that create our lives and as we walk deeper into the Labyrinth we start to contemplate those more specific issues, situations, events of our lives; looking more closer at how our lives have evolved.

Walking this path engages our minds, bodies, spirits to invite the Divine into conversation with us.  The rhythm of the walk is soothing and quieting.  If we concentrate on that rhythm we begin to lose the world, the sounds of the city/forest/green space that we find ourselves walking.  We enter into a meditative state that opens us to God.  This meditative state is something we may experience if we lose our self in Mass and suddenly are brought back by a change of song, or a prayer, or our own child asking us what we are thinking about.  This state is also the state that Theresa of the Little Flower also experienced.

If we have an opportunity to walk the Labyrinth it will help us slow down and listen for and to God, something so important in the business of our lives.

Dwelling place of God in the Spirit

Mommy Mantra October 28, 2014: Ephesians 2:19-21

So then you are no longer strangers and sojourners, but you are fellow citizens with the holy ones and members of the household of God,built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the capstone. Through him the whole structure is held together and grows into a temple sacred in the Lord;in him you also are being built together into a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.

This reading from today’s Mass resonated with me to the heart.  Words like household, foundation, capstone, structure, temple, all speak of dwelling: especially household; a place where loved ones gather.  From that household a foundation for life is created by parents who love and siblings who share with each other that parental love and support.  A household is a structure that is hopefully built on the foundation of God and the Great Commandment where parents teach their children values, convictions and beliefs of the church placed on their hearts; and these teachings help propel the children out into the world to do that same.

From that household we are given space, place and time for us to create ourselves as God has called us to be.  Experiences of our lives, reaction to those experiences and how we see God acting in our lives will create us as a dwelling place for the Spirit and from that we invite others into our lives to experience God as we experience Him.

 

Mother of Nine

Melanie Jean Juneau and I share a similar experience, and label: a pro-life feminist.  If you do a Google search you will see a site that proclaims that you can not be a feminist and pro-life.  I am old enough to have been in college when the feminist movement was at it’s height, the 1980’s.

I remember the movement being so angry towards men, demanding that we as women learn to care for ourselves that we didn’t need men, they were a waste of our time.

It wasn’t until I dated and married my husband that my feelings toward men changed.  I needed my husband and my husband needed me.  God calls us to be in relationship with each other.  Man will leave his father and mother, a woman will cling to her husband.  The Great Commandment tells us the Greatest way we can show our love of God is by how we treat others and ourselves.

I lived long enough to see the feminist movement become more “relaxed” telling women that men and women are equal but different.  Men began to find their sensitive sides and that is a blessing making them more like Christ than the macho attitude of John Wayne and the Marlboro Man.

Feminism has now swung toward the anger it showed in the late 70’s – 80’s.  We are back to standing on one side of the abyss shaking our fists at one an other.  Saint John Paul II called feminism: “The feminine genius” which refers to the idea that all of the ways in which women give of themselves are ways that reflect their capacity for physical or spiritual motherhood.  That we are unique, just as men are, called by God to achieve our best, be our best and fulfill our calling of God.  That being a woman, a mother, a wife is a profound vocation.  But so are all the other things women do: being a nurse, teacher, boss; just so that first things will be first.

Which brings me to Melanie’s blog post.

Pro-Life IS Pro-Women

Perhaps I have finally discovered a label to describe myself – a pro-life feminist. At first glance theses two terms seem to oppose each other but true feminism is not the antithesis of motherhood or a pro-life stance. Contrary to standard stereotypes, one is pro-woman  precisely when one is pro-life. My story is simply a witness of a woman who discovered a liberation as a mother of a large family.

Read the full post here.

Be imitators of God

Mommy Mantra, October 27, 2014: Be imitators of God – Ephesians 5:1
This Sunday the readings were filled with how we are to care for each other, treat each other, and by caring each other well, or treat each other well we show how we love God. Today the First Reading calls us to be imitators of God for God’s love is complete, all encompassing, uplifting.

As moms isn’t that what we are always trying to achieve in our parenting.  We want to see our children as God does.  We want to love our children as God does.  We want to forgive our children as God does.

God tells us to watch how we speak to others, not to fall into the trap of silly suggestive talk and this makes sense to me.  How often have we out of frustration said something to our children, or about our children, that we just wish we could “take back”.  If we are honest with ourselves; sometimes too often.  How we should speak about our children is in thanksgiving, thinking about, talking about all the positive things that have happened in our lives with our children, parenting and marriage.  Getting into the habit of doing that will do amazing things to cause positive changes in our lives, our children’s lives and our marriage.

 

Slavery

Mommy Mantra October 14, 2014: Gal 5: 1-6 “…..so stand firm and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery”
Paul speaks right to the heart of the matter, he is saying to the early Church don’t get caught up in the law it will only draw you away from what is important: Christ.

One of the many things that can draw us, as moms, away from Christ: the pursuit of perfectionism. There is no perfect mom. That is a myth that needs to die. The only thing it will lead to is competition. And competition leads to envy, which leads to gossip, which leads to superiority.

None of these are remotely helpful, Christian, or loving.

Stories of mother’s prayer

susan hiddenThis is a joyous Facebook post.  For almost a month her sweet ten year old daughter was sick with some unknown and worrying illness, it took days for doctors to determine that her daughter had appendicitis.  For her, her husband and son it was a terrifying time. A time when you need to reach out.  Being the new Millennium means reaching out to friends, family and nieghbours through social media: Facebook.  It was through Facebook a strong and faith-full community came and rallied around this family, filling them with prayers, support and love.  Every day the community, (both virtual and physical), anxiously waited for updates.   Every day prayers where posted, Masses offered, all with the knowledge that when two or more are, (virtually), gathered together there is God.   The community stormed heaven with prayers of healing for the sweet girl sick in her hospital bed.  Prayers for strength for mom and dad as they stay a prayerful vigil at the bedside of their little girl.  Prayers for big brother so he will still feel warm support as mom and dad deal with little sister’s health support.  Prayers for the doctors and nurses who worked to bring their sweet girl to full health.

Now, the prayerful mothering experience of a young mom who sought out God’s call for the best way to educate her lovely school aged son entering first grade.  Here is her story of prayerfully discerning the best and most supportive way to educate her son. It is certainly not the typical first grade experience.

We started off the year at a private school, which our son has attended for the 3 previous years for preschool and Kindergarten. Things did not go well. He was struggling both academically and socially. We pulled him out of school in the middle of the 2nd week. We decided to try homeschooling. Things have turned around into such a positive experience since our son has been homeschooling. He seems to have regained a love for learning (which he loathed learning in his former school). He read his first book! He was SO proud! I’m jealous his dad gets to be the one with him all day long, (I work 8-5, M-F) but I’ve been doing lessons on the weekends. It has been going really well and we think we may do this for more than one year now! We initially thought we’d hire a tutor to come to our home but after a few communications she stopped responding. We’ve been doing fine on our own, so I took that as a sign that we don’t need someone else to do it for us. I feel like this has been one of those “everything happens for a reason” experiences. Although it felt like hell getting here, I am so glad we ended up where we are now.”

Then there is this very imporimmodest dresstant thread being discussed on a Facebook group focusing on Catholic Moms.  A newly married woman, (who I am not sure is yet a mom, if she is than her children must be very young), posted about her experience of a recent Mass.  She was upset with a Extraordinary Minister of the Eucharist who, for whatever reason, was not totally “there” when discharging her duty, but what caught my eye was her throw away statement of young girls; I read here that the girls who must have been preteen/teen agers, dressing immodestly for the celebration of the Baptism during that recent Mass.  This struck me in the heart because it is a HUGE issue, one I have dealt with personally and professionally.

My reply to her posting was of a very personal experience of how a family member of ours was being talked about during a Mass, and what was being said was very hurtful.  This thread had many members of the group posting replies to me in support and of their own mothering experience of their own troubled girls in their own family who were/are dealing with emotional-spiritual issues that they express their pain through their dress.  This preteen/teen girls’ dress is more a call for help, love and support than derision and hurtful-loving help not understanding the moms feel such pain when they and their girls were judgedrd instead of prayed for.  One of the members posted perhaps the best understanding of the aspects of prayer: that our experiences can be transformed by God into wisdom for others and our self, she wrote:  “And God uses us and struggle to help others.”

10689545_10202678678597317_1759546044157950620_nFinally, this loving senior portrait.

I posted this reply to this young woman’s Facebook timeline: “Look at this senior picture, really look at it. First off how many seniors would have their mothers in the picture, very few; so what does that say? It says that here is a daughter, (Kateri), who understands and values her relationship with her mother, who understands the sacrifice and work of her mother, and how that work, in all it’s aspects, shaped her into the woman she is becoming.

Secondly, look at Dawn’s face! She is beaming! As she should be!

Both Kateri and Dawn’s face just glow!

 

As Moms we need all the help we can get.

Feast of Saints Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael, Archangels RV 12:7-12ab “For the accuser of our brothers is cast out,
who accuses them before our God day and night.”

As Moms we need all the help we can get.

Raphael Glorious Archangel St. Raphael, great prince of the heavenly court, you are illustrious for your gifts of wisdom and grace. You are a guide of those who journey by land or sea or air, consoler of the afflicted, and refuge of sinners.

I beg you, assist me in all my needs and in all the sufferings of this life, as once you helped the young Tobias on his travels. Because you are the “medicine of God” I humbly pray you to heal the many infirmities of my soul and the ills that afflict my body. I especially ask of you the favor (here mention your special intention), and the great grace of purity to prepare me to be the temple of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

God, with great wisdom You direct the ministry of Angels and men. Grant that those who always minister to You in heaven may defend us during our life on earth. Amen.

Gabriel O Captain and Leader of the armies of heaven, unworthy as we are, we beseech you without cease to surround us with your intercession and cover us beneath the shelter of the glory of your ethereal wings. We bend our knee and cry out with perseverance: “Deliver us from danger, O Prince of the Powers on high!” Amen.
Michael Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle, be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil; may God rebuke him, we humbly pray and do thou, O Prince of the heavenly host, by the power of God, thrust into hell Satan and all evil spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls. Amen.

Prefect or Complete: Which is it

English: perfectionism at its finest

Mothering/parenting, while it has many rewards can be very frustrating, and we have to be honest with ourselves about that or else we fall into this trap of having to be perfect: a perfect wife, a perfect mother. I speak from experience. I have been married 30 years have four children: two sons 29, 24, twin daughters 19; and our house has have had EVERY possible parenting issues you can imagine: troubled teens, drug and alcohol, preemie twins, ADHD the list goes go.

Say you are a young mom with very young children, who like all young children get swarmy, fidgety, hungry, bored.  As this young mom you are trying your best to keep those children as quiet and prefect as possible, but it’s hard.  You can feel the eyes boring in on you.  You can feel them drilling holes in the back of your neck. You feel exposed, vulnerable. Than it happens.  Call it mommy hormones, lack of sleep/rest, but you find yourself balling like a baby right along with your infant hungry child.  You had just reach your tipping point and the tears came. Those who don’t get it or who are annoyed by what happened are dealing with their own issues, and for the most part that issue is, frankly, perfectionism. It something I have seen time and time again, Take the lady who said “GAH” to you, who rolls her eyes in that: “My God!” derisive way; for her Mass is an ordered and quiet perfection. She likes it when nothing goes wrong and when it does well you, mother, are not doing your job right. Again the trap of being perfect.

Perfectionism creates no support only derision. In Matthew 5:48 Christ tells us to “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect”, you could just as easily replace prefect with complete. None of us can be as prefect as God but we are all call to strive for that perfection, some people just forget the striving to be prefect part and demand perfection from others NOW.

But it is much easier for us to see how we can be as complete as God: Grace, mercy, hope, faith. The Sacraments help us achieve this completeness, our turning from temptation, doing Acts of Mercy. In the Old Testament people who were striving for this completeness would be called righteous.

To combat that perfectionism I found I had to keep my eyes on the prize, and the prize is a moving target: infancy…keep them feed, happy and dry. Toddler/young school child: teachable moments of life, faith and the world. Preteen/teen helping to guide them through the pitfalls of hormones and the second toddler-hood. And part of that fight to be prefect meant I had to ignore those who were judging my calling on how I was to be a mom. You can’t please everyone, so you might as well please the person who matters the most: God.