Monday, July 18, 2011

Sts. Joachim and Anne

This past weekend I volunteered at the Steubenville St. Louis Mid-America conference. I attended the conference the previous weekend with teens from the youth group.

Saturday was the Feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. In talking with others who attended the conference, Mary's presence seemed almost tangible. There were moments when it seemed like I couldn't get the Hail Marys out quickly enough. Her intercession was felt in many ways.

Today we are a novena away from the Feast of Sts. Joachim and Anne. Mary's parents. While what we know about Joachim and Anne comes to us from small "t" tradition and legend, many Catholics have a strong devotion.

This article does a good job summing up the truth of the matter. I also spent some time reading about both Saints on

I'm excited to start a time of prayer asking for the intercession of these saints. I've never been devoted to them before, but there has always been a hint of vague curiosity within me regarding the parents of the Blessed Virgin. There has always been a sweetness that comes with the sound of their names. So this year, I plan to embrace their intercession on my behalf.

I recommend that you visit Elizabeth's blog for a story or two of personal devotion. She includes a downloadable file of St. Anne prayers. I'm planning on using the "Prayer to Obtain Some Special Favor" as a novena-type prayer until the feast day.

Please consider whether this devotion will be an asset to your personal prayers over the next 9 days.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

These are the Times

I have not blogged in a very, very long time. I didn't blog at all in the month of June. I'm not sure I've ever skipped an entire month before; I'll have to check the archives.

It is hard to blog confusion. And my life has been largely dominated by confusion.

Here are some things I've learned:

1.) Sometimes even the best commitments to prayer don't bring forth clear answers. These are the times when we have to learn to trust God more. These are the times when we have to learn to accept that grace is a constant that is working even when it is mostly undetectable to us.

2.) Sometimes God asks us to do things (or keep doing things) that in many ways we'd rather not do. These are the times when we have to seriously ask ourselves whether this life is about us or Him. These are the times when we have to hold on and give more - even when our hearts (and minds and emotions) have had enough.

3.) Sometimes God doesn't give us relief from our suffering. These are the times when we have to find a way to accept and understand that His ways are perfect. Faultless. And no matter how obvious it may be to us that something else would be simpler - would be better, these are the times when we cannot listen to that lie. His ways are best.

4.) Sometimes our heads hurt to the point of explosion trying to makes sense of things. Sometimes our hearts break, crumble to tiny pieces, and fall trying to figure out how best to love. These are the times when we have to realize that God loves us. His love is enough. His love is constant. His love great. His love is powerful. These are the times when -despite all the struggle, fear, pain, desire for more ... despite the endless journey - we have to know, in the depths of our hearts, with all of who we are, that God's love is so. much. bigger.

Lessons in trust and patience do not come easily. However, these are the times when we must pray for the virtue of hope. We have to hope that joy and peace are coming.

In God's time.