31 December 2009

Welcome 2010!

Wishing all of you a prosperous New Year!

happy new year

May this year be marked with peace, and ruled by Love.  May this year be the beginning of a new era of Life… life in Christ.

Come, Lord Jesus, and make this year one of great spiritual blessing for all.



So enjoy the countdown and ring in the New Year with hopefulness and joy!  I hope y’all get a kiss at midnight!


clock midnight

See you next year!



30 December 2009


I’m writing and publishing this post from Windows 7 Live Writer just to see how this thing works.  Supposedly I can even access my stored images and pictures… let’s see if it works.


Well, lookee there!  It works.  I’m in the mood for chocolate cake and hot cocoa!

Merry Christmas one and all! 

22 December 2009


“She gave birth to her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.”  Luke 2:7

Let this mystery teach us poverty.

When I think about poverty, my immediate reaction is to be repulsed.  Poverty is not something I find enchanting.  My instinct for self-preservation vehemently rejects the idea of poverty.  It inspires fear and dread in me.

Poverty means to be vulnerable, shunned, and perhaps worst of all, invisible.  Poverty is empty and deprived.

What a stunning paradox then that God would offer Himself to us in poverty.  Omnipotent, All-possessing King lies helpless and needy in humiliating surroundings.  He who commands the sun to shine and our hearts to beat within our chests comes powerless into our world to be greeted by cows and sheep. 

It’s disarmingly brilliant.  We cannot refute the love of a God who sheds His riches and might and gives Himself to us in poverty.  He did not come with frightening awe and intimidating splendor so we would cower before Him in fear.  He came to us small, weak, dependent and poor.  He sought to inspire our affection and devotion rather than command our submission.

As much as I may fear the possibility of material poverty, to never be poor in spirit – that is a much more fearsome prospect.  Who are the poor in spirit?  Only those brave souls who willingly admit their wretchedness before a holy God, who know exactly how undeserving they are yet humbly bow before Him, grateful for His mercy.  Those souls who never presume to be good enough on their own to stand before Him, but know how truly pitiful is their human state.

More than just a superficial knowing, the poor in spirit live the knowledge of their sinfulness truthfully, without making light of their sin.  What courage and honesty it requires to see myself as I truly am, without shining up my sin and spritzing perfume on my foul offenses.

If gold could have relieved our troubles and lifted us out of our darkness, then Jesus could have simply come in His Royalty and tossed us bags of coins.  If physical power and strength was all we needed to defeat our enemy, then the Invincible could have come with His armies and settled the whole matter in minutes.  He came to us in poverty so we would see that all we will ever need is who He is.

We need Him, the person of Jesus.  Only He can save us, because we don’t need wealth or power – we need mercy.  We need forgiveness to cleanse us.  Only His blood can do that.  The illusion of our goodness keeps us full of ourselves, but the poor in spirit have Christ as their inheritance, for they know how empty they truly are and so they are filled with Him.  “Blessed are they who are poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of God.”   Isn’t it just like our God to turn poverty into unfathomable riches? 

You can read the 1st Joyful and 2nd Joyful, too!

Merry Christmas!

21 December 2009

Christmas Dreams

I first wrote and published this back in May in honor of Mary's month, but it seems well-suited for Christmas so I'm sharing it again.  Blessings of peace and joy to you all this week.  Unto us a child is born... unto us a Son is given!

Dream of Me

Does he dream?  His eyelids flutter, and the faintest smile settles in
Just a moment and is gone again, with a sigh
My finger is a snug prize in his delicate hand
He falls deeper into sleep and deeper into my cradling arm

Quiet breath
I rock and sing
I am lulled and drowsy, yet transfixed on his face

Is he flying home in his mind?  Dancing through his cosmic playground?
Is he calling the stars out by name?

What extraordinary things does he imagine?
Is any of this real?  Is he really here in my arms?
How sublime and surreal!
He stepped into time and willed to be contained
In mortal flesh, on fleeting soil
My feet sink into the earth below me
Yet one glance at his face and I am raised to Heaven

No, I am the one who dreams
And finds my dream is fulfilled
Heaven is mine to hold
I can scarcely stop my heart from pounding
My little Holy One
My tiny, Mighty God
How I adore You!

We are each the other's child
I am Yours
You own me completely
And now You are mine
I lavish a mother's kisses on the tender face of God
Who could imagine such a thing?

My child, my King, my Love
My heart and soul
Tonight I hum a gentle lullaby
You sleep, and I stare in awe
Dream of me
Your mother, Your child
Dream of me

© 2009 Jennifer Hartline

20 December 2009

Health Reform Tells the Unborn: Sorry, No Room in the Inn

Follow this link to read my current article at Catholic Online regarding the Senate legislation that could very well be voted on by this morning.  Please read and share.



"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom His favor rests."  Luke 2:14

My list is simple and short today.  I'm laying down my heavy heart this morning in order to Praise our awesome God.

I Praise You, sweet Jesus, because You came.  Thank You.

I Praise You, loving Father, because You gave.  Thank You.

I thank you, Virgin Mother, because you said "Yes."  Thank you.

I Praise You, merciful Savior, because You forgive... and forgive... and forgive.  Thank You.  I am so sorry for what we are doing to You, especially on the eve of Your birth.

And, though it wouldn't make a decent snowball, I do have to Praise God for the dusting of white that now sits on my wooden deck outside.  It's snow, so it counts!  (Now Lord, how 'bout a lot more of it??  Pretty please??)

I wish you all a blessed day, and a blessed week.  Our Advent waiting is almost over... it has gone by much too quickly.  

O Come Desire of Nations
Bind in one the hearts of all mankind
Bid Thou our sad divisions cease
And be Thyself our King of Peace!

Merry Christmas Everyone!

19 December 2009

No Silver Bells... Just Silver for Votes

It is not over, but today's news is a crushing blow to those who hoped that Senator Nelson would be a man of his word.  By all appearances this morning, he has caved and sold his vote. 

Call your Senators and Congressmen today, tomorrow and Monday and demand they reject this pathetic bill with its abortion mandate.

How can we welcome the Christ Child next week when we refuse to welcome our own children?  Our country will commemorate the day by enshrining mandated abortion funding into law.  It is heartrendingly evil.

Jesus, have mercy on us and rescue Your people from this evil legislation.  Raise up men who will stand firm in defense of LIFE and not be bought at any price.  Forgive us, Lord...


Isn't it just poetic how D.C. is getting slammed with a blizzard, and so is Copenhagen, while the talking heads are huddled together in their carbon-infested meeting hall prattling on and on about the imminent doom of global warming?

It's almost Divine, don't ya think?

Gotta love it.

17 December 2009

Blogger trouble

Is anyone else having trouble with Blogger?  I constantly have to sign in, over and over, and I'm leaving comments on people's blogs all over the place that are never showing up. 

Is it me?  Anyone know what might be wrong?

16 December 2009

Joy and Magic

Well, the headlines this week have really got me down and scared. Our country is truly sinking fast into a black abyss.
So, I really needed to read this one today. (Bear with me while I re-run another post from last Christmas.) Today I'm fighting tooth and nail not to wallow in despair at the current state of things in the world.
I miss innocence and purity and joy. Anybody else feel that way? So, in the fighting spirit, I will not surrender, but will hold onto the innocence and joy of the Infant King and the magic of Santa.
Hope you enjoy it, too.

I have a confession to make.

I’m 38 years old, and I still believe in Santa Claus.

Okay, I suppose that’s not entirely accurate. My heads knows that Santa isn’t real, but my heart refuses to accept it. I’m pretty sick of my head lately, so I’m going with my heart.

I watched The Polar Express tonight with my daughters,

and they weren’t the only ones giddy with excitement. They weren’t the only ones mesmerized by the magical train as it sailed across the ice toward the North Pole. They weren’t the only ones who cheered out loud when Santa held up the silver bell and announced, “The first gift of Christmas!”

I was completely caught up in the thrill, the wonder,

the delight…the MAGIC.

I caught myself smiling from ear to ear and felt my heartbeat quicken with anticipation. For a while I forgot how old I was, and I felt lighthearted. I felt like a child again.

And then, oh…reality reemerged. I’m all grown up, with worries and responsibilities, and problems I can’t solve. My fleeting moment of childlike joy was fading.

But I am a stubborn woman and sometimes that works to my advantage. Tonight is one of those nights. I have decided that I will not surrender my childlike joy. I’m not handing it over to grown-up reality and you can’t make me!

I’m going to cling to that feeling of wonder like my toddler clings to my leg when she doesn’t want me to leave. I want that sense of delight engraved on my brain with rainbow sprinkles. I’m going to pretend I’m a child again this Christmas.

Jesus likes children.

Jesus likes children so much He came to us as a child. He left explicit instructions about how we are to approach God if we desire to enter the kingdom of heaven. We are to “become like little children…” Trusting. Unpretentious. Joyful. Innocent.

That’s what I’m missing with such a profound longing…my innocence. That’s what I was reminded of while watching a magical movie with my girls. (Sigh) I miss my innocence.

Susan Ashton sings a great song about this called Innocence Lost.

“Lullabies and pennies in a wishing well

Sad goodbyes to friends of make-believe

A love so pure, a treasure

Now buried in the sea of me

Milton lost his paradise

Dorothy lost her way

Vincent lost his sanity

Thomas lost his faith

Hoover lost the second time

Sigmund lost his friend

Me, I lost my innocence

And I want it back again”

I understand that I will never be five years old again, but I desperately want some measure of that childlike innocence back again. I want unadulterated joy and wonder, the kind that makes me dance
and sing out loud.

Maybe that’s part of what Jesus meant when He told us to become like little children. Humble in spirit, yes, but also innocent in heart and excited in our faith in Him. After all, He’s everything we ever could and ever have wished for! He came true!!

And tonight as I got lost in my childlike detour, I realized something wonderful. My mind and my heart were rushing with thoughts of Him. Even better than the fantasy is the reality! I was tingling with joyful anticipation of Christmas day, not for the sake of presents brought by Santa, but because I can hardly wait to celebrate THE GIFT.

It seems this indulgence in make-believe has caused me to recognize all over again -- but with purer eyes – the JOY of Christmas! JESUS came as one of us; born a poor, helpless infant…He whom the universe cannot contain now sleeps cradled in Mary’s arms.

There will be plenty of days ahead to turn our attentions toward the serious business of life, but for now, I say it is time to be filled with childlike awe and wonder and joy for the gift God has given us. It is time to recapture some of our innocence again, and linger there for awhile.

Emmanuel…God is with us…the angels are singing GLORIA! I think I’ll join them.

14 December 2009

All I Want for Christmas

Everyone's asking -- "what's on your Christmas list?"

Even my children are making a list for Santa.

I can't help but envy them the simplicity of their lists. I delight in their innocent childhood joy over a doll or stuffed animal or some other toy they're wishing for.

My own heart is filled with less childlike desires, and after careful consideration, I have boiled my "list" down to one thing. One
big thing. Only one thing I want for Christmas this year...

I want to stop wanting.

Wanting breeds discontent.

Wanting infects my mind with delusions of inadequacy.

Wanting unsettles my spirit and poisons my heart with "If only..." and "What about me?"

Wanting distorts my vision, or just plain leaves me blind.

(Sure, there's wanting material "things." The seductive lure of STUFF is almost inescapable, and at Christmastime, it's disguised as gift-giving...yikes! But that's way too easy. By now we should all know that "stuff" doesn't fill the hole in our hearts or our lives.)

I'm talking about something much more important, and more difficult to pin down.

I want to stop wanting things to be the way I think they should be.

Stop wanting a different talent than the one I’ve been given.

Stop wanting a different place at the table than where I’ve been seated.

Stop wanting God to work in my life the way I think He should, to accomplish what I’ve decided would be good for me or my family.

Stop wanting more from God instead of more of God.

This is the insidious way the wanting poisons my spirit, my relationships, my view of my life, my response to my heavenly Father. It's a deep, unspoken, almost subconscious
expectation I have for my life.

The problem is my desires are self-centered, not God-centered. I secretly want to experience some blessing or ability someone else has… and why shouldn’t I? What’s wrong with me that I can’t have/achieve/receive what that person has? And so, the wanting grows…

Remember the lessons of the potter and the clay? Perhaps the disease of discontent finds its roots there. “You turn things upside down, as if the potter were thought to be like the clay! Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, ‘He did not make me’? Can the pot say of the potter, ‘He knows nothing”? Isaiah 29:16

And again in Romans 9:21… “But who are you, O man, to talk back to God? Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’ Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes and some for common use?”

Mother Teresa has inspired me to make a radical shift in thinking. “He can do with me as it pleaseth Him, without even a thought of consulting me. I just want to be His own little one – if He so wants, otherwise I will be happy to be just nothing and He everything.” Come Be My Light

If God so chooses me to be a lowly pot used only for common, unseen tasks, it is His right. Who am I to demand otherwise? I have no right to expect nobility or applause or credit for myself, if He has chosen commonness for me. He has still given me everything by virtue of grace and the cross. If He gives me nothing else, ever, it must be alright with me. I must be happy to be nothing and He everything.

It is a daring prayer to say, and I’m not at all sure I have the goods to back it up, but I think this is the only wanting that will ever be satisfied.

God, grant me a heart that is empty of myself to the point of being nothing so long as You are everything. Then this disease of discontent, this poison of fruitless longing that leaves me sad and useless will be cured. If I want for anything, let it be more of Jesus.

The child in the manger gave me the ultimate demonstration of this Himself.

The Potter became Himself the lowliest pot and filled Himself with my wretched self-centeredness and sin. This is the unspeakable gift of Christmas! Deep, pure, selfless gratitude to the infant King for humbling Himself for my sake -- this is the joy that is the antidote for the poison, and it’s all I want for Christmas.

(This post was originally published December 2008.)

©2008 Jennifer Hartline

12 December 2009



"Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you. See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the Lord rises upon you and his glory appears over you. Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn." Isaiah 60:1-3

Is it really the 3rd Sunday of Advent already?!? It's going much too quickly... I want it to slow down.

I Praise God this week for bringing peace and calm to my home after some very tense days of frustration. I finally took my mother's advice and stood in my living room and loudly told Satan to take his discord and anger and get OUT of my house! The difference was amazing... when you throw the trash out, the home smells sweet again.

I'm Praising God in advance for the wonderful night I know I will have with my girls this week at the Nutcracker Ballet. I got them new dresses for Christmas which they will wear, some shiny shoes and pretty tights, and we'll have a fancy dessert before we head to the ballet. I think I'm more excited than they are!

Praise God for the excitement and anticipation of His birth, drawing so near! How I pray I have made room in my heart for Him!

Praise God for the freedom to worship Him this season without fear of police intrusion or imprisonment. May God free the Christians in China and protect them from harm.

Praise God for twinkling lights everywhere!

Praise God for cold weather... no snow, but at least it was cold today!

Praise God for the sound of my girls' laughter.

Praise God for helping me show restraint and patience today instead of yelling. Little victories, people!

Praise God for homemade fudge, and for these:

Pecan Snowballs

1 cup softened butter
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups flour
1 tsp. vanilla
1 Tbsp water
2 cups chopped pecans
pinch of salt

Cream butter and sugar. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Shape into balls and bake at 325 degrees for about 20 minutes. While still warm, roll thoroughly in powdered sugar.

The smell of these cookies baking is heavenly. Enjoy!

A blessed Gaudete Sunday to all of you! Make the most of this Advent week and share your Praises! O come, O come, Emmanuel!

11 December 2009

Someone to Pray For

I received an email message today that broke my heart. This woman is deceived and lost and needs prayers. I'm placing her in Our Lady's arms. Perhaps some of you might pray for her as well. Here is the message:

Hi Jennifer,

I just wanted to thank you for your recent article on Catholic Online, "When Sex Becomes a False God."

I needed the reminder that it's time for my yearly donation to Planned Parenthood, for the wonderful work that they do. They are greatly needed, because people are having sex, will always have sex, and will not stop having sex. It's human nature, something Catholics need to be more realistic about...and I say this as a former Catholic.

Thanks again for the reminder!

Ugh. Dear Lord, help... How is it that so many women can be so blind as to revere Planned Parenthood as some sort of benevolent missionary organization? It boggles the mind and breaks the heart. Women deserve much, much better than PP. I pray this woman comes to see the truth soon.

10 December 2009

When Sex is god

Given the current health care debate and the question of whether we will all be forced to pay for abortions through our tax dollars, plus the cozy relationship between Obama and Planned Parenthood, it's high time this country reexamined its attitudes about sex. That's where we have to start if we're going to straighten out the horrible mess we're in. (IMHO)

In case there’s any doubt, it’s not true that Americans don’t worship. We are indeed still a nation that faithfully goes to the altar to worship and give our lives. We give our money & our time, and we choose our leaders accordingly. Some things are worth protecting and defending, so we make darn sure the important things are kept safe.

What has changed is the object of our worship. No longer is the one we adore holy and all-powerful. No longer is our master a loving and merciful one. We have a new god.

Sex is our false god. Our society worships at the altar of sex, and by extension, the altar of abortion. Every part of our daily lives seems to glorify and revolve around sex. There is no escaping the pervasive presence of indulgent sex. It has infiltrated every corner of our culture and radically changed the way we view ourselves and the way we treat each other.

Satan has so skillfully enslaved us in a prison of self-centeredness and obsession with sex that he no longer has to convince us to come to this altar – we come running of our own volition. We can’t get enough sex. Bondage tastes like freedom on our tongues and we beg for more. We are addicted to our lethal injection.

Please read on...

09 December 2009

Obama, Jennings, and PP

Please pardon me if this is a soggy blanket on your Advent joy, but this is far too important to ignore.
I first learned last week about Kevin Jennings' and GLSEN's safe reading list for all public school children, and after what I saw and read, I got real fired up and wrote the letter below.

Here is the link where you can go to read this disgusting stuff for yourself, and I warn you, it is vile. It includes pornographic pictures that made me physically sick.

Here also is a link to a related story regarding Jennings and Planned Parenthood that you should be aware of. Bottom line for me is that Obama is responsible for this current scandal because he appointed Jennings. I want to hear "the anointed one" come to the microphone and publicly defend this creep and his perverted, obscene reading list. I want to hear him explain why this garbage is appropriate and necessary for our kids to have a safe learning environment. Then I want Jennings removed immediately.

(small warning: this letter of mine is quite strong ~ harsh, even ~ and contains a word of profanity. Couldn't be helped.)

December 4, 2009

An open letter to Mr. Obama,

I will no longer address you as Mr. President because you are simply not fit to lead anyone. What I have learned today is the very last straw. You are no longer to be afforded the benefit of the doubt in anything, and frankly, I feel foolish for ever being inclined to do so.

We have endured a great deal from you in one short year, and it is simply too much to bear any longer. You are clearly bent on taking our country down a road of unabashed immorality and debauchery no matter what the people think or say to the contrary. It is time for our elected leaders to take a bold initiative and stop you from doing any further damage.

You have filled your administration with people who hold the most outrageous, insane, and frightening views on everything from our climate to our animals and worst of all, the sexuality of our children. You plainly gravitate toward these radical sorts who have a view of America and the world that I and many other will simply never tolerate. Your intentions have been revealed, and they are divisive and destructive. You are a liar and a moral coward. I am ashamed to think my honorable husband would have to salute you.

Do not attempt to distance yourself from the views of Van Jones, Cass Sunstein, and John Holdren. You don’t get a pass anymore. The buck stops with you. If you appointed them, then you believe what they believe. If you think they’re off-base and you disagree with them, then you shouldn’t hire them to do your laundry, let alone fill a cabinet-level position. If they’re on your team, then you’re okay with everything they’ve said and published – period. You’re the one who wanted the job, so stop crying about being unfairly aligned with crazy radical views.

Quite possibly the worst of all is Kevin Jennings, your so-called Safe Schools Czar. That you have given this man the task of making our public schools “safe” for students to learn is stunning. Jennings has a view of “health” and “safety” for our kids that is shockingly corrupt and devoid of morality, and clearly so do you since you gave him the job.

I am unutterably sick to death of the hyper-sexualization of our children in this culture, and I will not silently allow you and Jennings to further this twisted agenda in our school system under the banner of tolerance and equality. How dare you use the power of your office to pollute my children’s futures with rampant, forced, immoral sexual indoctrination!

I read through as much as I could stand of Jennings’ list of “safe reading” for our school children beginning in kindergarten all the way through 12th grade. I saw some of the illustrations in these recommended books and I was glad I had an empty stomach. What I read and saw was revolting and pornographic. This filth is what your czar wants our children to read in order to foster understanding, tolerance, and create a safe environment for learning? Bullshit. This putrid smut has one purpose only and that is to break down a child’s moral center and make them slaves to selfish, destructive, immoral, and deadly sexual behavior.

Your intentions have been revealed, Mr. Obama. You are no friend of parents in this country and you are in fact a danger to our children. If you want to denounce this disgusting “safe reading” list then fire Jennings immediately. Otherwise, you are complicit in endorsing this repugnant garbage and the end result it seeks to achieve. Stop destroying the innocence of our children with this obsession with unrestrained, immoral sex.

As a parent and voter, I demand that Jennings be removed from his position today, and I demand that my Congressman and Senators take action to require his removal. As far as I’m concerned, you should be removed from office as well. You are a disgrace to our nation. You have proven your motives to be far worse than even I imagined a year ago. I thought, I hoped, that you would prove to be reasonable and show a modicum of moral restraint. That is not the case, and you must not be allowed to drag this nation into an abyss of sexual depravity masquerading as tolerance.

Your sworn allegiance to Planned Parenthood and the abortion “rights” lobby is just the tip of the iceberg. It’s evident that you are determined to forcibly usher in a modern era of Sodom and Gomorrah. You think I’m wildly exaggerating things here? Then prove it by publicly condemning the trash your czar wants all our children to read. If you won’t, then I dare you to publicly defend the books that write explicitly about a group of young boys getting together to perform fellatio on each other. Defend the books that feature pictures of a man having anal sex with a boy under the caption stating how this transforms the boy into a man. Defend the books that are filled with kids asking each other if they want to f*** (yes, using that word). This isn’t being marketed to adults; it’s being peddled by coercion to our children.

No elegantly-delivered speech will save you this time. If you do not unequivocally condemn this outrageous trash and fire Jennings, then you are exactly the person I describe here and you’ll get no help from me in keeping your dirty little secret. We both know your political survival depends on parents not finding out what Jennings – and you – wants to force into our public school system.

The responsibility is yours. If you will not protect America’s kids from this kind of corruption, then you are unfit to lead this great nation, a nation founded on the truth of the authority and power of God. We do not derive our freedom from our own laws, we do not acquire our worth from our own definitions of human life, but from the God who created us out of love.

You are sliding down a dark tunnel into a blackness where God is denied, purity is destroyed and love no longer has meaning. You are free to take that terrible trip if you so choose, but don’t you dare take this country with you. I will not quietly oblige you in your efforts to erode the moral fabric of America and her children under some insane pretext of rights and equality.

If you need bedtime reading tonight, I recommend Isaiah 5:20: “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.”

And Romans 1:28 “Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity… they invent ways of doing evil…they are senseless, faithless, heartless and ruthless. Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.”

And Jeremiah 7:28: “This is the nation that has not obeyed the Lord its God or responded to correction. Truth has perished; it has vanished from their lips.”

There is no excuse, no justification for what you and Jennings are doing. Stop it immediately. I hold you responsible. Every American should hold you responsible. If I’m wrong, prove it.

As for everyone else, brace yourselves and go to: http://gatewaypundit.firstthings.com/2009/12/breaking-obamas-safe-schools-czar-is-promoting-porn-in-the-classroom-kevin-jennings-and-the-glsen-reading-list/ to see for yourself what Kevin Jennings wants your children to read. Are you okay with this? Obama appointed him, so the buck stops with Obama. Will you remain silent?

08 December 2009


Here's a link to my article about Mary up at Catholic Online today in honor of this glorious feast day.

December 8th has been on my mind for many weeks now. I don’t think this feast day has ever been on my radar screen so intensely before, but this year I am joyfully anticipating Mary’s special day. Perhaps the greatest blessing of my Christian life in recent years is the ever-deeper devotion to the Blessed Mother that I am experiencing. It is really an amazing gift.

While thinking one day about Mary, the Immaculate Conception, I heard from a dear friend of mine that she had just lost her mother. Joanne is a faith-filled woman and she knows that her mother is with the Lord, yet I know she is hurting terribly. I cannot imagine her pain. I don’t even want to think about the day I might have to bury my parents. I’m not ready to lose them and I never, ever will be. I’m certain Joanne feels the same.

Yet I know that days of grief, sadness, loss and loneliness are inevitable. They will come for all of us in one way or another. We won’t escape this life without pain; sometimes terrible, unspeakable pain. This is a subject of great consternation with me and one I go round and round with God over. I often have trouble finding mercy and grace in the midst of horrible suffering, and I can’t stand the empty platitudes and greeting card remedies because they just don’t cut it.

I ask, “Why?” I ask, “How could You allow this?” I ask, “Where are You?” I ask, “Where were You?” I don’t think I’ve ever gotten an answer that really satisfies. I’m simply drawn back again and again to the scenes of that terrible Friday we call “Good” to dwell on the agony of Jesus – and the anguish of His Mother.

And I wonder – how did she do it? How did she remain perfectly, completely faithful, trusting and obedient?

Read on...


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