Tag Archives: OLGC

Something New!

I’ve been invited to contribute posts to my parish’s blog, OLGC Blog!

My first post comes out today! Pop over and take a peek; I’ll be discussing Lenten sacrifices: what do we give up and why?

Preparing for Marian Consecration

DSCN7477

Fr. Steve Mateja decided to lead a bunch of us at Our Lady of Good Counsel in a 33 day retreat, ending in a Mass on the feast of the Presentation of the Lord tomorrow where we will consecrate ourselves to Mary. Our retreat started on December 31st, and I joined on that day while attending the Mass for Mary, Mother of God. However, since our celebration lasted through midnight, I technically began the retreat a day late. πŸ™‚

What is Marian consecration? Basically, it is giving all of yourself to Mary. You are entrusting yourself to Mary, in the same way that Jesus entrusted Mary to John (the beloved disciple) and John (standing for all of humanity) to Mary at the foot of the Cross. This consecration is to be a whole-hearted giving of self. Nothing should be held back from the blessed Mother.

In the past, I haven’t had or felt a strong connection to Mary. I’m sure she’s a great saint and an amazing woman. Clearly. But I just didn’t have a great relationship with her. And I was still working on my relationship with the Trinity. These relationships are always capable of further growth. I just feel, in my personal journey, that it is time to reach out to the Blessed Virgin.

As I was participating in the retreat, there is a day where we are reflecting on what this consecration means and we are told, “When we fully consecrate ourselves to Mary, we lose the unconditional right to distribute the value of our prayers and good actions to others.”

This took me aback for a moment. Because I’ve always been “in charge” of my prayers and intercede for others routinely. Does this mean that I can’t pray for specific other people any more? What am I agreeing to?

Luckily, Fr. Michael Gaitley, who wrote this retreat, anticipated my questions and answered them in the next couple paragraphs. Basically, you can still pray as you always do, but you leave it up to Mary as to the direction of the efficacy of your prayers. So, if I fast and pray that the spiritual benefit of that fasting will be applied to person X, I give Mary the authority to re-direct that spiritual benefit to person Y of her choosing, who may be in more need of that spiritual gift.

Why is this okay?

First, because Mary always makes the good things that we give her more perfect. So, whatever meager spiritual benefit someone may receive from my efforts will be increased at the hand of Mary, if I give them to her. This makes sense on a couple different levels. What son would refuse a request made by his mother? And surely a son who is perfect would not refuse his mother. So Jesus would not refuse a request made by His mother, Mary. Also, in James, we learn that the prayers of holy men are especially heard by God. The holier one is, the more efficacious one’s prayers. And who is holier than the woman who was born without sin, lived without sinning, and is now reigning in glory in Heaven with her Son?

Second, Mary is never outdone in generosity. “If we are so generous as to give her the right to distribute the grace of our prayers and good works, she will surely be especially generous to our loved ones. In fact, she’ll take even better care of our loved ones than we ourselves can.” This reminded me of a (traumatic) section in the book, “The Gift of Faith” where we were told to have no attachments, including attachments to people we loved. We are to give them over to God and trust in Him entirely, giving Him everything that we are, all that we have, and everything that we hold dear.

This is a hard thing to do. For me in particular, it’s not so hard to give *myself* wholly to God and submit to His Will; He can do with me whatever He wants. I don’t care so much for what happens to me, but I care everything for those I love. To give them, wholly, to another, is difficult.

But what am I worried about, though? That Mary or Jesus would love them less than I do?

Clearly, this worry is unfounded. And so, I’m going into this consecration tomorrow with all of my reservations put to rest. I do not enter into things lightly and have a keen desire to live with integrity. So, when I promise something, I mean it. Fr. Gaitley tells us that Marian consecration is a serious commitment, and I intend to do my best to live that out.

Everything will change tomorrow, because after the consecration, she will live in my heart and I will live in hers.

Please pray for me.

Sometimes Mockery is a Public Service

I fully admit to being influenced by teenage boys in my formative years. And I definitely believe that somethings are Guy Things and some things are Girl Things.

Enter example from this week:

Scenario: 3 guys and myself watching TV. At the end of the night, one guy has left, so it’s me and the remaining 2 guys. There is a question about the rules of baseball which were displayed in the episode we watched. I find myself having to explain the difference between a ball and a strike.

Batter

Then, I think…

WHAT?!?

Shouldn’t they know this stuff? Didn’t they have to pass a test in order to pass puberty? I’m pretty sure it’s required.

So, I immediately called them on this fact.

Why am I, a GIRL, explaining this stuff to, not one, but TWO GUYS?!?

But, before you think I am all mean and uncharitable, I submit that perhaps it was a public service. I was calling them to be better men. And I was remarkably restrained in my mockery.

Especially given the fact that my mockery instinct had previously been provoked by this stunning display of a “tackle” on the September Chapel Chat AKA Exhibit #1: Please watch to the end…

Pilgrimage to Rome: Day 9

Itinerary for Today:
Flight over the Atlantic back home!
airplane

Predicted Italian Weather:
88 degrees, bright sunshine. YAY!

Predicted Michigan Weather:
91 degrees, 96% humidity, heat advisory, partly sunny. Welcome home! πŸ™‚

Pray!
Pray for the safety of all travelers this day. Write a letter or a note to one of the pilgrims you have been praying for about your experience on this pilgrimage journey. Join in 8:00 A.M. Mass one morning this week to celebrate the end of the pilgrimage and maybe to meet a pilgrim in our midst. In gratitude, be good to others today.

The Lord will set me free and rescue me because He loves me.

Gracious Father, I will thank You each day for Your merciful goodness to me. With Your help, I will ever praise Your kindness in my trouble. Please assist me now, as I faithfully follow Christ, my Savior, and call upon the friendship and intercession of Saint Francis of Assisi, by granting my petition (mention your request). Amen.

Lord, make me an instrument of peace;
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
And where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console;
To be understood, as to understand;
For it is in giving, that we receive,
It is in pardoning, that we are pardoned.
And it is in dying, that we are born to Eternal life.

* Note: None of these pictures are mine, as I’ve never been to Italy. *sob* Nor are they pictures from the pilgrims. They are pictures taken from people who have allowed others to link to them; you can click through each picture to the photographer’s page, to see more of their work.

May God bless you, pilgrims! May He grant you a swift, safe, and easy journey back home! Thank you for your prayers for our community! Can’t wait to see your pictures and hear all of your stories! πŸ™‚

Pilgrimage to Rome: Day 8

Itinerary for Today:
Rome:
St. Peter’s Basilica*
St Peter's Basilica

Necropolis-Scavi Tour of St. Peter’s Tomb*
A Tomb in the Vatican Necropolis

Pasta Farewell Dinner*
Pasta

Ok, so the pasta dinner is just a guess. I’m sure whatever they end up having will be WAY more epic than anything I could dream up. And I bet they aren’t going to bring us home leftovers. *sadface*

Predicted Italian Weather:
90 degrees, mostly sunny. YAY!

Pray!
Find out something about St. Peter. Read about him in Scripture and identify areas of your life where you have denied Christ. Pray for the leadership of the Catholic Church, for our priests and pilgrims, for our OLGC community, and all people throughout the world. Ask God for the courage to seek to encounter Jesus and look for a conversion in our hearts. Turn back to Him, like Peter, to love Him and to spread the faith like an intentional disciple every day. Help someone you know who is in need of your friendship and support.

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted.

Your goodness, Heavenly Father, responds speedily to our sorrow. In my distress, I call upon You to hear and answer my prayers (mention your request). In You, O God, I will continue to trust despite everything. I ask this request in Christ’s name and through the intercession of Saint Francis of Assisi. Amen.

Lord, make me an instrument of peace;
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
And where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console;
To be understood, as to understand;
For it is in giving, that we receive,
It is in pardoning, that we are pardoned.
And it is in dying, that we are born to Eternal life.

* Note: None of these pictures are mine, as I’ve never been to Italy. *sob* Nor are they pictures from the pilgrims. They are pictures taken from people who have allowed others to link to them; you can click through each picture to the photographer’s page, to see more of their work.

May God bless you, pilgrims!

Pilgrimage to Rome: Day 7

Itinerary for Today:
Assisi:
Basilica of St. Clare*
Basilica of St. Clare in Assisi, Umbria - Italy

San Ruffino*
Inside San Ruffino. Assisi.

St. Francis of Assisi*
Assisi - sunset - Basilica di San Francesco

Predicted Italian Weather:
89 degrees, mostly sunny and nice. YAY!

Pray!
Come to Mass and focus as the gifts are being brought to the altar that we are in communion with each other in prayer at this moment. All of our intentions are being brought to the altar of the Lord. Spend a moment to talk to someone in the community about how you are experiencing this pilgrimage. In imitation of Christ and St. Francis, do good to those who may dislike you.

The Lord is a stronghold in times of distress.

Father in Heaven, You never reject those who seek Your help and are ever ready to comfort the sorrowful. Through the intercession of Saint Francis and in Christ’s name, I implore You to have pity on me in my needs (mention your request), and to rescue me from all afflictions. Amen.

Lord, make me an instrument of peace;
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
And where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console;
To be understood, as to understand;
For it is in giving, that we receive,
It is in pardoning, that we are pardoned.
And it is in dying, that we are born to Eternal life.

* Note: None of these pictures are mine, as I’ve never been to Italy. *sob* Nor are they pictures from the pilgrims. They are pictures taken from people who have allowed others to link to them; you can click through each picture to the photographer’s page, to see more of their work.

May God bless you, pilgrims!

Pilgrimage to Rome: Day 6

Itinerary for Today:
Rome:
The Holy Stairs*
Holy Stairs

Basilica of St. Mary Major*
St Mary Major mosaics

Basilica of St. John Lateran*
Rome, Basilica of St. John Lateran

Holy Cross*
Rome Basilica of Holy Cross in Jerusalem 95

San Clemente*
The Triumph of The Cross in Basilica San Clemente, Rome

St. Lawrence Outside the Walls*
IMG_4020.jpg

Predicted Italian Weather:
90 degrees, partly sunny with thunderstorms in spots in the afternoon.

Pray!
Read St. Paul’s letters in Scripture as he describes the early Church community: Acts 2:42-47, 4:32-35; Peter’s speech at Pentecost: Acts 2:14; and the end of the first mission of Paul: Acts 14:21. Banish from your mind and tongue unkind words and thoughts today.

O Lord, do not chastise me with Your anger.

Merciful Father, You know my weakness and disobedience. Yet, You are ever ready to forgive and be gracious to me in my trouble. In Christ’s name and through the intercession of Saint Francis of Assisi, quickly come to help me (mention your request). Amen.

Lord, make me an instrument of peace;
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
And where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console;
To be understood, as to understand;
For it is in giving, that we receive,
It is in pardoning, that we are pardoned.
And it is in dying, that we are born to Eternal life.

* Note: None of these pictures are mine, as I’ve never been to Italy. *sob* Nor are they pictures from the pilgrims. They are pictures taken from people who have allowed others to link to them; you can click through each picture to the photographer’s page, to see more of their work.

May God bless you, pilgrims!

Pilgrimage to Rome: Day 5

Itinerary for Today:
Pompeii and Herculaneum:
Shrine of Our Lady of the Rosary*
Shrine of Our Lady of The Rosary of Pompeii

Excavations in Pompeii*
POMPEII RUINS - HDR *  DSCF2452

City of Herculaneum*
Herculaneum

Predicted Italian Weather:
88 degrees with showers in the morning; otherwise sunshine and patchy clouds. πŸ™‚ This sounds better!

Pray!
Fast today (from food, coffee, soda, candy, TV, etc.). Offer a prayer each time you remember your commitment to fast. Bring all the children to church to pray the rosary with teens leading. For God’s sake, help some person whom you may not like.

O Lord, grant safety to those who long for it.

In You, Heavenly Father, I confidently place my trust. In your hands, I leave all my anxieties with faith in Your care for me. From You, and through the intercession of Saint Francis of Assisi, I await relief from my present distress (mention your request). Amen.

Lord, make me an instrument of peace;
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
And where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console;
To be understood, as to understand;
For it is in giving, that we receive,
It is in pardoning, that we are pardoned.
And it is in dying, that we are born to Eternal life.

* Note: None of these pictures are mine, as I’ve never been to Italy. *sob* Nor are they pictures from the pilgrims. They are pictures taken from people who have allowed others to link to them; you can click through each picture to the photographer’s page, to see more of their work.

May God bless you, pilgrims!

Pilgrimage to Rome: Day 4

Itinerary for Today:
Ancient Rome and Genazzano:
Coliseum*
Coliseum

Circus Maximus*
Circus Maximus

Roman Forum*
Roman Forum

St. Peter in Chains Church*
Church of St Peter In Chains, Rome

Church of Our Lady of Good Counsel*
Mater Boni Consilii 2

Church of St. Ignatius*
Altar and fresco in Church of St. Ignatius

Predicted Italian Weather:
88 degrees and cloudy; chance of thunderstorms in the afternoon. 😦

Pray!
Remember the community of OLGC and all the petitions each time you use stairs in your life today. Keep the physical journey and the strength and endurance of the pilgrims in your prayers. Consider today how you can do God’s will.

Make Your ways known to me, O Lord.

Father Almighty, Your ways and purpose are often hidden from us. Guide me now and through the intercession of Saint Francis of Assisi, I beg You, in my sorrow, and by Your power, to let me know Your will regarding my special need (mention your request). Amen.

Lord, make me an instrument of peace;
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
And where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console;
To be understood, as to understand;
For it is in giving, that we receive,
It is in pardoning, that we are pardoned.
And it is in dying, that we are born to Eternal life.

* Note: None of these pictures are mine, as I’ve never been to Italy. *sob* Nor are they pictures from the pilgrims. They are pictures taken from people who have allowed others to link to them; you can click through each picture to the photographer’s page, to see more of their work.

May God bless you, pilgrims!

Pilgrimage to Rome: Day 3

Today, Fr. John said “Good Morning” and sent out a video update, letting us know that the pilgrims might get to see Pope Francis on Sunday!

Itinerary for Today:
Rome:
Catacombs of St. Sebastian*
Catacombs of St. Sebastian

The Vatican Museums*
Vatican Museum Steps

Sistine Chapel*
Sistine Chapel

Predicted Italian Weather:
89 degrees and partly sunny, turning colder in the afternoon with a thunderstorm in spots. Sounds humid. 😦

Pray!
Celebrate a pasta meal. Whether at home or away, eat pasta as a way to join with the dinner celebrated in Italy. Offer an extra prayer for the food that we are given and commit to bring food to church each week. Throughout the day, give your cares to the Lord.

Lord, be not far from me.

Loving Father. You are not far from any of us, since in You we live, move and have our being. Increase my awareness of Your presence and through the intercession of Saint Francis, take care of my pressing need (mention your request). Amen.

Lord, make me an instrument of peace;
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
And where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console;
To be understood, as to understand;
For it is in giving, that we receive,
It is in pardoning, that we are pardoned.
And it is in dying, that we are born to Eternal life.

* Note: None of these pictures are mine, as I’ve never been to Italy. *sob* Nor are they pictures from the pilgrims. They are pictures taken from people who have allowed others to link to them; you can click through each picture to the photographer’s page, to see more of their work.

May God bless you, pilgrims!