Monday, January 25, 2010

Lovely Lady Dressed In Blue, Teach Me How To Pray

Lovely Lady, dressed in blue, teach me how to pray;
God was just your little boy, tell me what to say.

Did you lift him up sometimes gently on your knee?
Did you sing to him the way mother does to me?

Did you hold his hand at night? Did you ever try
Telling stories of the world? Oh, and did he cry?

Do you really think he cares if I tell him things?
Little things that happen? And do the angels' wings

make a noise? And can he hear me if I speak low?
Does he understand me now? Tell me, for you know.

Lovely Lady, dressed in blue, teach me how to pray;
God was just your little boy, and you know the way.

My orders arrived today. I can barely stand the excitement!  On my lunch hour I previewed the first 10 minutes of one of the DVD's and brought the two books with me back to work.  What could possibly have me so distracted today?

Our Lady, of course.

It started a couple of weeks ago after I spent the evening with my group reunion.  Anyone who has attended a Cursillo weekend should know what this is, and should be in one (it was, after all, the point of your weekend).  If you haven't attended a Cursillo weekend, basically a group reunion is a regular gathering of at least three people to discuss specific aspects of our faith.  I group with five women every few weeks (two of whom are out of town---MISS YOU, MARY AND ANGELA!), to talk about what's working for us and what's not in our prayer, formation and evangelization efforts.

The last time we met, we discussed how distracted we all were.  We each shared instances where something has grabbed our attention and effectively yanked us off the path.  Without getting into the gritty details (which I assure you are much more boring than they are gritty), we each realized that God must be first in all things, and that we were guilty of not putting God first.

Then the next morning, Magnificat's morning prayer contained the following: "O God of justice and of love, you care for your people in every time and place, despite our tendency to stray from you in our foolishness." I instantly thought back to some really great advice that my spiritual director gave me last month: "Learn to love those things that you must do, and you will understand the heart of Christ." Over the last few months, I've found focusing on prayer to be increasingly difficult. I've been ill lately, but I know that's no excuse. I decided that I needed some guidance, so I turned to the one person I know can help me:  Mary.

Earlier last week I finished reading Our Lady of Kibeho by Rwandan genocide survivor Immaculee Ilibagiza, a bittersweet account of the only approved apparitions of Our Lady in Africa. This prompted me to order two more books by Immaculee:  If Only We Had Listened and The Rosary of the 7 Sorrows.  I also purchased Guadalupe, a dramatization of Mary's appearance to Juan Diego, and The 13th Day, the newest production about Fatima.

Allow me to share with you page 1 of If Only We Had Listened:

Our Lady of Kebeho invites you to strengthen and deepen your prayer life.

"My Children, there are many who want to pray, who try to pray, but do not know how to pray.  You must ask for the strength and knowledge to understand what is expected of you.  My ove goes out to all of you, for there are many here who want to reach the road to heaven, but do not have the strength or knowledge to ask for God's help.  My children, listen to my words, for I will teach you how to pray from the bottom of your hearts."

I'm listening, mother.  Show me the way.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Our Lady Of Sorrows: True Visions of Hope

Before hundreds of thousands of Rwandans were dehumanized by their own countrymen, Our Lady predicted the genocidal atrocities on the Feast of the Assumption in 1982 to visionaries in front of hundreds of pilgrims.  Our Lady of Kibeho by genocide survivor Immaculee Ilibagiza accounts Mary's message to the world through eight visionaries.

She started appearing to a high school student named Alphonsine in November of 1981, two months later to  Anathalie, then two months after that to Marie-Claire. Over a decade before the Rwandan genocide destroyed an entire nation, including the apparition site, thousands of pilgrims from all over Rwanda came to witness the miracles for themselves.  The messages were often recorded and broadcast.  Mary wept as she told the visionaries how the deeply rooted hatred they all harbored within their hearts would end in a violent bloodbath.  During a vision Our Lady gave Marie-Claire a string of beads--the Rosary of the Seven Sorrows--and taught her and everyone present how to pray it.  The author includes these instructions given to Marie-Claire in this book--it's the primary reason I bought it.

Marie-Claire was murdered in the genocide, along with her husband.  Alphonsine is now a cloistered nun in the Republic of Benin in West Africa.  Anathalie remained in Kibeho as she promised Our Lady many years ago, and will stay there until Our Lady tells her otherwise.  Mary's appearances to these three women are the only approved Marian apparitions on the Continent of Africa, and now that war subsides, the shrine of Our Lady of Sorrows has been built in Kibeho at the apparition site.

The other five visionaries have not been authenticated, though investigation may continue at some time in the future:

  • Segatashya, a pagan boy converted in a bean field by Jesus Himself, was shot to death by a firing squad.
  • Vestine, a Muslim girl who died after the genocide of illness, was also visited by the Lord Jesus.
  • Stephanie was 14 when she began seeing Our Lady.  She disappeared during the genocide.
  • Valentine, who still receives public visions of Our Lady today, lives in Belgium.
  • Agnes is married with two children, and still sees Jesus privately.
The following video clip will be the best ten minutes you spend today.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The World Watches rescue missions are deployed from around the world to give aid to Haiti, devastated only yesterday by a 7+ earthquake.  It is thought that the death toll could be over one hundred thousand.

One hundred thousand fatalities.  One hundred thousand human lives.

If I held vigil, offering prayer unceasingly for one hundred thousand minutes for each human being thought to be dead, I would not rest until the 70th day.

One hundred thousand is a lot of people.  Just imagine if every American gave $100 or more to the relief effort for these victims.

Better yet, don't just imagine it.  Make it a reality.  Click here to do your part.  (I did!)

Sunday, January 3, 2010


They travelled from a great distance to pay Him homage, following a star to the place where the infant King lay.  The Magi bore the newborn Jesus gifts:  Gold for the King; Frankincense for the God; Myrrh for the Man.  As Fr. Joseph said at Mass, "Think about the gifts you have to offer, and don't be selfish with them. Travel outside the boundaries of your known world--outside of your family, immediate friends and known places--and be prepared to give of yourself.  It's there that you will find Jesus."

Our goal with this mission ... [was] to create an awesome moment for one bell ringer and the random New Yorkers and tourists who happened to be in the right place at the right time.

Fill your 2010 with awesome moments that lie far outside of your comfort zone.
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