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Deirdre Domestic Church Ink Slingers Respect Life

Bring Them a Meal!

In July, we moved to a new city and joined an amazing parish. Less than three weeks ago, I had our fifth child. While I was still in the hospital, the head of the mother’s group at our parish sent out a meal calendar for others to sign up to bring us a meal. By the time I was discharged from the hospital two days later, our meal calendar was full and women from our parish, our home school co-op, and women we had never even met before had signed up to bring us meals for the next two weeks! It was so amazing! It was such a relief to not have to even think about making dinner for two weeks after my baby was born. It was also wonderful to have visitors stop in for just a quick visit each day, to say hello and get to show off my newborn while having some quick adult conversation.

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, and because I am so thankful for the generosity others showed toward our family, I want to encourage you to bring someone a meal.

Who?

Of course, it’s wonderful to provide families meals when they have a newborn. It’s also a great idea to provide meals for mothers who are suffering from first trimester nausea. But we shouldn’t stop there: do you know a mother who has recently miscarried? I’m sure she could use a meal. Or a single mother or mother whose husband works out of town during the week? Maybe a family who has recently lost a loved one or who has a family member battling cancer. Maybe an elderly neighbor or a single friend. No matter our walk in life, I’m sure we all know someone who would appreciate a meal.

What?

Bring something that you can easily make ahead of time and preferably bring cooked and warm, ready to serve. If there are other children in the home, try to bring something you know the children will eat. Lasagna, chili, spaghetti and meatballs, baked ziti, chicken pot pie, fajitas, enchiladas, pizza, and BBQ chicken are some simple suggestions. In addition to dinner, so many ladies brought us cookies, cake, or candy for dessert, which was a big hit, especially for the children. A few friends also brought us banana bread, muffins, or donuts for breakfast along with the dinner they brought, which was really extraordinary. Some women brought cards, others brought flowers, someone gave us a giant container of peanut butter, all going above and beyond but brought so much joy to us! We were so grateful for so many thoughtful gifts, it was such a blessing.

Where,  When and How?

Bring the meal to the family’s home if possible. Find out what time they usually eat dinner and try to have the meal there about a half hour before that. The last time I brought a meal to a family, I failed to account for traffic and didn’t arrive until 5:45. Plan ahead! Keep in mind that this family just had a new baby and don’t stay to visit too long.

Being pro-life means so much more than protecting the unborn child in the womb. It means protecting and caring for every human life from conception through natural death. One great way we can do that is by bringing someone in need a meal. A family with a newborn baby, a family who has just lost a baby through miscarriage, a single mother, a widow, a lonely friend or neighbor. Today, we enjoy our bountiful Thanksgiving meals with our extended families. Maybe tomorrow, we could each think of someone in need and offer to bring them a meal in the coming weeks.

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Current Events Ink Slingers Michelle Prayer Spiritual Growth

A Thanksgiving Prayer

prayer of thanksgivingDear Heavenly Father,

Today as we celebrate Thanksgiving we take time to recognize all the blessings we have in our lives. We know that they come from You alone.  We know that You are the kind Master and we are but humble servants, owing our lives and all that is in them to You.  We thank You for Your love, Your grace, and Your generosity.  We pray that we use Your gifts wisely.  We pray that our lives will be a reflection of You… all that is holy and good.

Lord, in this time where we know we have been given so much, we pray that you will soften our hearts to others in need.  Guide us and show us how to take care of others the way You take care of us.  Teach us to administer to the poor and sick, the lost and the lonely, the abused and abandoned.  Let us share our time, our money, our spirit and our love with those who suffer.  Let those we serve see You in all we do.

Heavenly Father, we know we have done nothing to merit Your love and Your grace and yet You so freely bestow them on us.  Help us to live a life that is deserving of all our blessings.  Help us to put You first in our lives.  Help us to always be thankful for Your ever-loving presence.  Help us to remember that You are with us both in the good times and when we are walking through though the storms.

Father, the Catholic Sistas are so blessed to be able to bring Your word, Your light, and Your love to all our readers.  Please continue to guide us in all we say and do, both online and in our everyday lives.  Please continue to show us where we fit into the world of Catholic Evangelization.  Help us to reach as many readers as possible and always guide us to share the Truth.  We know we have a tremendous responsibility and we are so happy You trust us to be a part of sharing Your word and Your love.  May everything we share here always lead our readers, Your followers, to the Truth… and to You.

Lord, we ask you to bless our readers.  Help them to grow in their faith.  Please continue to bless their lives and families.  May they also become beacons of Your light and love.  As they grow in spirituality and faith guide them to share their love for You with everyone they encounter.

Heavenly Father, while we take time today to say thank you, please help us to remember to thank You each and every day.  We thank You for the ultimate sacrifice of Your Son, Jesus Christ.  The love You have for us is incomprehensible, especially when we see all that You gave up for us.  Help us to be worthy of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross.

Thank you Lord, for our lives, for our blessings, and most of all, for Your love.

Amen

We at the Catholic Sistas wish you each a very blessed Thanksgiving day.  May you continue to be blessed with life, laughter, and love. 

happy thanksgiving

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Suffering at the Hands of Family: A Personal Invitation and a Gift {Part 1}

I’m reading through threads on social media today and am thinking that if I had a nickel for every thread I read about the hurt family inflicts…. *sigh* well, I wouldn’t have to worry so much about my fuel budget to haul my ducks around town.

I’m sure we’ve all been there. For myself, every time we have family visits, my anxiety shoots through the roof because I know I can’t change my beloved extended family’s habits of inconsideration, rudeness, pettiness, and the usual contrived jabs. This occurs on both sides of the family.

After 14 years of this in married life (and x years before), all I can do is steel myself before these visits. Then I pray, wait, and try to prepare as much pre-damage control as possible (if that’s possible).

It has struck me more than once how I never thought that my Catholic family would be the cause of hard feelings because of envy, jealousy, lack of charity, unwillingness to forgive, and grudges that lead to further separation in the family. It is this separation that causes us to drift so far apart that we lose touch. Finally when we tearfully meet 5, 10, 15 years later at mutual loved one’s funeral, we wondered whatever it was that caused us to part so.

Here’s my situation…

My extended family members are faithful Catholics, but to this day, still struggle to get along, to show basic manners when it comes to planned events, asking us to leave so they can have dinner with friends who are coming by, not offering support in any way, and trying to control our children and how we parent them, etc.

I can’t change them, however, and have to be comforted in the fact that they are Catholic and that as Catholics they are called to love. They have the Sacraments to help them to reflect, to try to bear wrongs, to be charitable. It’s not in my hands if they do so but I pray for them for God to lead them as I ask that He lead me. We may not be friends during our time here, but I beg that we meet in Heaven someday.

I’m a wimp and am incredibly flawed (ask my husband), but I grit my teeth to ask for suffering to bear on their behalf for the wrongs—the grievous, almost unforgivable wrongs they have hurt me with and still hurt me with if I give them the chance—so that they don’t spend a single day in Purgatory.

Now it’s a little harder in a way with my non-Catholic family who are openly hostile toward my Lord and His Church—and anyone who loves Him and is in His Church. But at the same time the betrayal isn’t as deep or hurtful as it is from my Catholic family. I mean, one expects better from faithful Catholics, right?

Yet, with my secular family, it’s hard to not be affected when my precious 5 year-old, in her innocence wants to color and draw pictures for Jesus with a same-aged cousin who is every bit as precious and just as innocent, and the family’s response is anger and hostility, albeit in the passive aggressive form because she dared express her love for Jesus and had her cousin doing the same. For this side of the family, this is all too common. While we try to lay low, not give too many opinions, to be helpful and accommodating, we can tell that our mere presence is offensive somehow and they can’t wait for us to leave.

Given both sides of our families, my husband and I wouldn’t care so much if it was just us. We could stay away and not make an effort. But we have children who are like all children; they love with all of their hearts, and that includes people who are family who have been a big part in our suffering.

It’s hard to explain to people who haven’t lived it. The first thought someone who may or may not know you and yours is, “Well, what’s wrong with you that your family hates you so much?” They might think that I’m not telling both sides. If I detail our defense I’m torn between the fear of looking like a petty, oversensitive, drama queen or of them looking like monsters. I don’t feel like going on trial at the hands of even well-meaning friends who cannot understand and unknowingly cause more hurt when they defend the undefendable. I don’t blame them, they don’t know the history. How can a survivor of child abuse really explain to people who haven’t live it? I don’t want to burden them and I doubt they want to be burdened. Who does? It’s between my husband, myself, and God for our Sanctification and for our children’s souls and the souls of our family and friends, and enemies. As much as my family still hurts me, mainly through my children, I love them and don’t want anyone thinking badly about them. I want the best for them in this life and the next.

When I used to talk about it and be more open about difficult visits, perhaps it was because I sought understanding and empathy; perhaps because I wanted to know if anyone else was in this situation and how they coped and healed–if there was healing. I’m learning how to bear it more quietly. I said “more”, not “entirely.” I am writing this because I see similar situations and want to reach out to those suffering at the hands of family to tell them, “You’re not alone. You are loved. I don’t know you, but I love you because I am called to love you and I feel for you! You are in my prayers.”

So I pray. Sometimes I cry. And I feel alone. It’s here I can identify with my Lord’s Passion when He was falsely accused- by friends! He was maligned and betrayed- by people He loved and who were closest to Him! I think of Our Lady who suffered His Passion in her heart. It’s how I am drawn closer to Him through Her. I am at the foot of the cross as I gaze at their hearts: her Immaculate Heart and His Sacred Heart on fire with love us, pierced by our wrongs toward one another and God. Mary feels the pain from the blows of our sin to her Son simply because she’s His mother! With love of God and us (in spite of the pain we cause), she gives her suffering to Him, Who makes all things new and turns this suffering into something beautiful to heal and bring souls to Heaven. Her love is so pure. She does all of this because she loves us, only like a mother could. He bears it—bore it for love of us. It’s mind boggling.

I grew up Catholic and used to study pictures of the Immaculate and Sacred Hearts in wonder. Why did they draw it like that? It took all of this time, suffering through a wounded childhood and the continued rejection of the people whom I love most to help me understand. This is only a taste of what my Lord suffered on my account, because He knows every hair on my head and my own heart better than I.

When I have the gift of suffering at the hands of those closest to me, I am being invited to partake in my own little passion made Holy by a God who can always bring a greater good. My heart will look like theirs: pierced, purified, and on fire with love of God and love of my neighbor—even my enemies—for the sake of loving God. To His Heart through hers. To Him through her. To God, the Father through His Son by the Holy Spirit! I rejoice because I am blessed indeed.

 

Monica is married and has a Masters Degree in Engineering. She “gave it all up” when her first was born to stay home with her growing family. She homeschools their five children, some of which are special needs. She is currently living her “happily ever after” deep in the heart of Texas.

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Ink Slingers Martina

From Our Family to Yours

From our contributors:

 

I wish all our readers a blessed day as you gather with family and friends to give thanks. ~ Kerri

May we cherish each moment with our family and friends today, even those who challenge our charity, for those are the very ones who might need our kindness and gratitude the most. ~ Christine

In thanksgiving for my Catholic faith, the sacraments and the priests who make them possible. I am also thankful for the gift of Life. May we honor the value of everyone – young and old, born and unborn. For the joy of being in a large, messy, and loving family. In gratitude for good health after my bout with cancer and for the medical professionals who administer to the sick. I am thankful for the help of others – family, friends, and even strangers – on my life’s journey. And for the safety of a warm home where I hope to grow old with my one true love. Thank you Lord for the beauty of your creation. Let us cherish the masterpiece that is our world. ~ Birgit

I am thankful that at all times God is holding our family firmly in His hands. I am thankful that He has put the right people here to surround me with love and faith. I am thankful that He trust us so much that He would bless us so richly, even when we are not deserving. We pray that during this Thanksgiving season and at all times, that you feel every bit as blessed and loved as our family feels. ~ Michelle

My prayer this day is that everyone has the chance to spend the day with someone they love. I pray that this holiday season will be one that spreads the light and love of Christ to all. May we all reach out to one another in friendship, seeking to find common ground rather than to condemn and highlight differences.  ~ Marie

I want to remember and hold up in prayer all our military men and women, especially the ones that are separated from loved ones this holiday season. Thank you and your families! ♥ ~ Ann Marie O.

I thank God that we have enough food to eat, warm clothing and a comfortable bed to sleep in. I ask God to give us the resources and means to help others receive these blessings, too. ~ AnnMarie C.

I thank God for my family — especially Andrew & Rachel on their birthday weekend — & friends. I thank God for my continued recovery & wish for it to continue smoothly. I thank God for the continued support & love I get from my family — especially Andrew & mom — & friends — especially the Sistas — & even complete strangers throughout the world. I pray that Rachel & my Thanksgiving story will help other women facing a diagnosis like mine.

I pray that all people in the world will open their eyes & hearts to the wonderful gift of life & give thanks for life even when things look desperate. I pray that cancer patients the world over are getting good care & are thankful for the hard-working doctors, nurses & researchers who are trying to help end the tragedy of cancer. ~ Erika V.

Thankful for our ancient, transcending Faith. Thankful for our Church that has withstood the test of time and every enemy. Thankful for the Eucharist which transforms the ordinary into extraordinary on so many levels. Thankful for my family, both my beloved husband and children and my awesome extended families. And thankful for the kind of friends that are around year after year, mistake after mistake, trial after trial, and joy after joy. ~ Adrienne

I’m thankful to have come home to the Catholic Church in 2004, and to the amazing people who serve their parishes through RCIA programs. I pray for those currently preparing to come into full communion this coming Easter. ~ Nicole

 I’m thankful for the gift of family, whether by blood or bound through our Catholic Faith. ~ Martina

I wish peace and blessings upon all of our readers and contributors, and that we may feel grateful that we are well fed, both physically and spiritually by God’s gracious hand. ~Brittany

Thankful for God who loves and forgives us. Thankful for the Communion of Saints we look to as examples of God’s wishes for us. Wishing for all to be grateful for lives filled with blessings. ~ Charla

I thank God for calling me out of atheism and sparing me a life without Him. I beg for graces for those who have not yet come home, that they might enjoy God’s loving presence in their lives, too. ~ Misty

For the life God has called me to lead, instead of the one I want…I am thankful that he softened my heart and opening my mind to listen to Him. Which means I am thankful for my new parish, my husband, my children, my new pastor, and friends. ~ Erika D.

I am thankful for the Baptist community where I grew up for instilling in me a love for our Lord Jesus and His Word, and for God leading me home to His Holy Catholic Church, where my experience with Jesus has deepened in intimacy. ~ Tiffany P.

 I am thankful that God allowed me to go through all the hardships in my life and that when it was time, and His Will, He whacked me with the 2×4 that brought me Home to Him and His Church. I’m thankful that He never gives up on anyone and that by His Grace, I’m alive to tell people what He has done for me. ~ Leticia

Thank you, Lord, for the gift of being able to worship you in freedom. Thank you, Lord for you many blessings in our lives.
Please continue to lead us and guide us in all that we do, so that we may help bring about the Kingdom of God, while we wait in joyful hope for your coming. ~ Emily

So thankful for all the priests whose goal is to encourage their flock to grow in holiness and to be saints, and who preach the Truth gently but firmly. ~ Colleen

Thank you for the opportunity to start over again in the sacrament of confession, to continue to strive to become a saint, for all our opportunities to become better and more holy people. ~ Lisa

I give thanks to God for the gift of my husband, children, and our whole family and that we are surrounded by a wonderful church and school family. May everyone celebrate God’s blessings both big and small on this day of thanksgiving and every day! ~ Amy M.

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Hope and Thanksgiving – They’re Contagious!

I was recently privy to a Facebook exchange between my friend, Michelle, and one of her friends. Michelle is going through a difficult pregnancy and we are all fervently praying for her and her wee one. Her friend offered words of hope by sharing her own, albeit very different, story that had a scary middle but a positive outcome. The relief of being washed with renewed hope was evident in Michelle’s response – even in the written word. We, humans, are fragile like that. Our fear of both the known and unknown is at times palatable.

I remember being in the inner circle of cancer fighters – back in my ‘newbie’ days of surgeries and chemotherapy.  Then, even more than now, I would find solace in every good outcome for others. Even knowing that we were only connected by being in the same boat, so to speak, it somehow made it a bit less scary knowing that someone was fighting this same demon and was winning. Conversely, every bit of bad news and the death of a fellow cancer victim left me shaken – not because our outcomes were somehow inexplicably intertwined but because their bad news brought my own vulnerability uncomfortably to the surface.

Finding hope in the like circumstances of someone’s physical battles is not unlike recognizing that we are all fighting the same battle for our eternal lives. While we share the same Father and the same obligations, our journeys are very different. Just as the pregnancy and cancer anecdotes above reveal, we can give aid to others – and they to us – if we are willing to share our journey. In this way hope truly can be contagious.

This brings me to ponder about other aspects of our faith that can be – and hopefully are – contagious. Thanksgiving is one of them. If we resolve to heighten our awareness of the things for which we are grateful, our thankful demeanor can be contagious. As we are taught in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, there is a hierarchy of importance: God first, others second, ourselves last. Given this formula, we are then able to formulate a litany of thanksgiving, so to speak. Of course there are other elements involved as well. God has given us a glorious world in which to live out our time of awaiting our eternal reward. The wonders are as countless as the stars and as rich as any treasure.

With the Thanksgiving holiday in mind then, I will share with you a few of my favorite things for which I am grateful. May they be contagious and help you to ponder a list of your own!

In thanksgiving for Church

 

 

In thanksgiving for my Catholic Faith, the Sacraments, and the Priests who make them possible.

 

 

 

In thanksgiving for life

 

In thanksgiving for the gift of Life and the value of all people – old and young, born and unborn.

 

In thanksgiving for

 

 

In thanksgiving for health for my loved ones and me after physical trials and for the medical professionals who administer to the sick (my daughter and I are both cancer survivors).

In thanksgiving for

 

 

 

In thanksgiving for the joy of being part of a large, messy, loving family.

 

 

In thanksgiving for

 

 

In thanksgiving for the help of others – family, friends, and even strangers – on my life’s journey.

 

In thanksgiving for

 

 

In thanksgiving for the safety of a warm home where I hope to grow old with my one true love.

 

In thanksgiving for

 

 

In thanksgiving for the beauty of God’s creation. Our world is truly a masterpiece!

In the true sense of sharing, how about letting us know about some of your points of thanksgiving? What is on your list of things of which to be grateful? Did this post evoke some that you hadn’t thought of for a while? Do you have a story to tell about gratitude or hope that touched you in a special way? We’d love for you to share!