ON THE ROAD TO THE FAST TRACK
About eight years ago, when I got unexpectedly pregnant with my daughter, my whole world changed. I had been teaching during the day and going to Court Reporting School at night. My husband had quit his job in order to go back to school and get his Masters. He wanted to change career paths. Both of us had an expectation of how things would be for us in the future. Money, nice cars, and a big house were definitely involved. We had actually even discussed not having children because we anticipated working a lot so we could get all of the "great stuff" in life! My thoughts actually did sway to a child occasionally. I figured in about ten years after I was a Court Reporter, I could go free lance and work from the home. I figured I could hire someone to take care of my child. This way I could have the best of both worlds!
husband and I had spent the first year of our marriage in a very small,
one bedroom apartment. We decided that it was time to enter the housing
market. Because of our long-term plans, we did not have a lot of money
to put toward a payment. We found an adorable three bedroom, one bath home
with a carport garage. It was perfect for us! One of the bedrooms would
be our guest room and the other would be a study.
Within a few weeks, our new little home looked situated, and everything had found a place! We did not have any money for extras like curtains and decorations, but we were so happy! The budget was very tight, but we were making it just fine and our forecasted incomes would be worth the sacrifices.
We were in the house about a month when I was late for my monthly cycle. I waited a week, but figured I had better do a little home pregnancy test before starting my next pack of birth control pills. I knew it would be negative. I mean, after all, I had not missed any pills, been on antibiotic, or done any of the things that can make the pill less effective. This was just a formality before starting my new pill pack- just in case!
I will never forget sitting there watching that negative turn into a positive. This just couldn't be happening. In shock, I called my husband over. Both of us just looked at the test, saying nothing.
GOD HAS OTHER PLANS
Over the first couple of months of pregnancy, my husband and I started to "reconstruct" our lives. He was working a part-time, temporary position at a District Office of a department store, so he told his boss that he would need to quit to find a permanent job. Wisely, his boss saw the asset she had in him as an employee, and she pulled strings to get him into another position. A job was created for my husband as a autocad planner for their new stores. Because he had no experience in this field, however, his pay was minimal. Things would continue to be tight, but at least it was a permanent job.
And for me, despite the fact that at the beginning of my pregnancy I had sat on my mother's couch and very boldly told her that "this baby was not going to keep me from finishing Court Reporting School," something had happened. I knew I could not keep it up with the schedule of working and going to night school! I decided to take a leave of absence from Court Reporting School.
During this leave of absence, I had a lot of decisions to make. Should I quit teaching so I could go to Court Reporting School during the day and finish faster? Or should I quit Court Reporting School, which would leave me loans that would take many many years to pay off with a lower income. The latter choice would give me more time at home with my baby.
I did not consciously see it at the time, but my thinking had begun to change. I began to put the needs of my child above my material desires. I chose to quit Court Reporting School and stay with teaching. And even though I didn't know it, God was with me during this decision because about a month later, I got carpal tunnel syndrome in both hands. If I had quit teaching, we would have more loans with no school, and no job.
I wish I could say that it was my faith in God that gave me the strength to make these decisions. Unfortunately, however, I did not think about God in that kind of way. I had, however, begun thinking that we needed to start attending a Church so we could expose our child to Christianity and get her baptized.
We did, unfortunately, have an unresolved problem about which Church to attend. I had been raised Baptist, while my husband was a Catholic. Even though he agreed to let us get married by my Baptist preacher, he told me that would never be anything but Catholic. The Catholic Church had always been somewhat of a mystery to me. Much of what I had known about it was from the people at my high school who were Catholic. Of the Catholics I had known and known of, most seemed to go to Mass pretty consistently, but beyond that there was nothing that seemed "religious" about them. I was still opened to going to the Catholic Church though, if my family could be united together.
GOD CONTINUES TO PRUNE
During the beginning months of my pregnancy, there were a couple of people who had a significant impact on the decisions that my husband and I were to make. These people were my sister-in-law, and my next-door-neighbor. They were both stay-at-home mothers, and they asked me if I was going to stay at home with the baby.
When I first mentioned staying-at-home with the baby to my husband, he was obviously against the idea. A short time later, however, we decided to sit down with a pen and a piece of paper and see what the numbers really looked like. We listed our basic bills: house payment, water, electricity, food, phone, etc. Now, let me help you to understand, we added nothing extra: no dry cleaning, hair cuts, clothing, presents, cable TV, special phone services, absolutely nothing extra. We would also have to ask my student loan companies if we could defer the payments (interest, of course was already mounting.) And with all of this, we were $400 short a month with my husband's pay alone! We figured that if we started living this way right away, we could save a large portion of my income. In doing this, we would have enough saved to take $400 a month out of savings for one year. After this, I would have to go back to teaching. We decided to go for it!
About 3-4 weeks before my due date, I was put on bed rest. It was a strange feeling knowing that I would not be going back to work for a whole year. When my daughter was born, however, I can't really explain what happened to me. I had never felt the kind of love that I had for that precious baby! The strange thing was, though, instead of rejoicing at the year I would have with her, I truly agonized at the thought of having to leave her with a stranger in one short year. I immediately desired to stay with her longer.
When she was only a few months old, I found a potential solution to my problem. Every year at Christmas, a group of my friends would go out together for dinner. This year, one of my friends told us of a problem she was having. She had had a wonderful baby-sitter come into her home and watch her little boy, but the baby-sitter was now moving. To make matters worse for her, she was also expecting a second child. My mind started racing about this potential opportunity for me to watch her children and stay with my baby!
That night was a scary night for me, for I needed to mention my thoughts to my husband.His answer was an immediate, "no." Realistically, he pointed out, we needed me to work. I had had better insurance, not to mention the fact that other expenses were bound to come up. The $400 that we were taking out of savings every month would most certainly not continue to cover us, and then we would be without savings as well. My student loans would also be kicking in soon which would be almost another couple hundred dollars a month for many years. I had no idea what my friend would pay for an in-home baby-sitter, but my husband was letting me know that it would need to be substantially over $400. Furthermore, he said that it would be too much of a risk for us. It is usually very difficult for friends to go into that kind of an employer/employee relationship, and if it didn't work out, I would be out of a job.
Even though I knew he was right about the risk, I felt willing to take it. I just could not fathom leaving my daughter. Each time I mentioned it, my husband seemed a little more receptive to the thought. Eventually, the bottom line became: "What would they pay?" and "Would they be willing to take me with my daughter?"
GOING OUT ON A LIMB
When I finally received my husband's approval to investigate further, I decided to call my friend and ask her a few questions.After a short discussion, my friend asked me when I was thinking of making of this move, because she was interested in getting a new sitter before her baby was born. This would mean my having to begin this before I had wanted, but it was an opportunity I could not let pass me by, so soon, I was babysitting with my baby!After my friend’s baby was born, and she returned to work, the hours seemed to grow longer and longer. At this time, my goal in life was to get all three children to nap at the same time. I eventually did accomplish this goal, and this was truly a sanity saver! I relished this time, but one difficulty was that the rooms surrounded the family room. I had to be very quiet, for if I woke up one child, they were all up, and there went my break! I learned to be very quiet!The average nap for the kids was about 2 1/2 hours. That gave me a lot of time to reflect on the "greater meaning of life!" During this time, I had what I might call a vision in my minds eye. I saw a narrow path leading upwards. Off the path, however, were lots of big paths. These paths were filled with really great things that served as a distraction to keep people off the narrow path. The only thing is that the narrow path was the one leading to Heaven. It was a lonely path.
SEARCHING FOR GOD
One of my life savers at this time was another friend of mine. I had met this friend at Weight Watchers as we were trying to loose our "baby weight!" She was also a struggling stay-at-home mom, but there was something quite different about her. She very openly talked about Jesus and the Bible. This was something foreign to me. We would actually talk on the phone occasionally, and I would vent some frustrations with her. Instead of putting fuel on the fire, however, she would say that we should pray about it. So, with her on her end of the phone, and me on my end, we prayed for God to intervene. This was so amazingly refreshing to me!
It was not long after knowing her that I decided I needed a new Bible. All of my life I had had a beautiful little King James Version Bible. Many times throughout my life, I had desired to read it, but I never got very far. In fact, I did not even know that Abraham existed. I knew some about the New Testament from Church, but I had never read it. I decided I needed a new Bible. I squeezed an inexpensive one into our tight budget and immediately began carrying it in my baby-sitting bag. Little by little, during those quiet, lonely napping moments, I read the Bible.
Also around the same time, we started attending Mass.Through going to Mass and my Bible reading, I was starting to grow a little more in my hunger for knowledge. After reading my New Testament Bible for awhile, I desired to know more about the Old Testament, so I went to a used book store and bought a Readers Digest Condensed Bible. I then started reading it during those ‘quiet napping’ moments. I did get a lot of the Bible read, but as one of my friends says, "The Bible is like an onion, as soon as you think you have it pealed, you find another layer!" I am still in the process of "peeling layers" to this day!
It's funny how as I reflect back on that time, something that was so difficult has been revealed as such a blessing. A time when I was lonely became a time when God revealed himself to me in so many ways! God is so amazing!
My quiet nap times did continue to be my own little Bible Study times. I did continue to do laundry, though, but I would make time each week to do some reading. One day, however, I forgot my Bible. On the same day, all of the laundry was done. I had nothing to do. I couldn't stand to sit there for 2 1/2 hours and do nothing, so I looked around. On the dining room table, I noticed a book that had been sitting there a couple of weeks. I had no clue what it was about, but the title was Rome Sweet Home by Scott and Kimberly Hahn. I picked it up and started reading it.
It was a very interesting book. It was a religious book about a man's journey to the Catholic faith, and the struggle he and his wife both had as a result. The thing that was so interesting is that Scott Hahn set out to disprove Catholicism and ended up proving it! It was a fascinating book! I read that day, and then read more each day I was given the opportunity. When I was finished, a felt a "sort of" freedom. It answered all of my major "problems" about the Catholic Church and gave me a Peace about attending it. It's funny how God works, though! The book had a very strong Eucharistic message in it, but I did not "get it!" I guess you could say that I penetrated what I was able to handle at the time. The book lead me to where God wanted me at that moment, and that was an openness about the Catholic Church.
Now, at the time when I read the book and the Bible, I had no idea where I was going. My life was actually a very lonely one!We attended Mass every Sunday, but we were not involved in any other way.
"It was good for me to be afflicted, in order to learn your laws." Psalm 119; 71
Now, the even though I was so thankful for my baby-sitting job, we seemed to be "stuck." With the job, I was able to stay with my daughter, and that was great! But, on the other hand, with the job, we were unable to have any other children of our own. My friend had just become pregnant with her third child, and with her new baby, there were literally no more seat belts in our car. I would have needed a larger car, and that was completely out of our range! Even with all of this, my desire for another child was incredibly strong.
After a lot of discussions, my husband and I agreed that something would have to change financially for us to be able to add to our family. Right about this same time, the company that my husband was working for began having financial problems. To tell you the truth, I underestimated the potential impact that it could have on us. That was until my husband came home and told me that there had been a major lay-off in the company. Many good people had lost their jobs. At this point, his job was spared, but he began searching for a new job out-of-city and out-of-state. Nothing came. I still had hopes that the company he worked for would pull itself out of the financial bind, but I knew there was a possibility that it wouldn't be fast enough to save my husband's job.
THE CALL TO ADORATION
At this point, unknown to me, something occurred that would change my whole life and the way I looked at everything. One day at Mass, a man got up in front of the congregation to speak about something called Perpetual Adoration. Perpetual Adoration is a 24 hour- 7 day a week prayer time in front of the exposed Blessed Sacrament. In other words, people sign up for one particular hour- all the way through the day and night. Then the person goes to the Chapel at that same hour each week. But the thing that the man said that touched my soul was that "it was something good to do if you don't have much money to give." I immediately thought, "That's me! I don't have much money, but I can give an hour of my time each week."
Well, the Ushers passed around little slips of paper, and I felt compelled to fill one out. My husband sort of gave me a "What are you doing?" look. I just smiled. I ended up setting my time for Saturday mornings. It just seemed to be the time that fit my schedule the most.
On my first Saturday, I was a little nervous. I tend to be shy by nature, and I was really nervous that I would do something wrong. When I approached the Chapel and looked into the little window that was in the door that was at the back end of the Chapel, I just froze. There sat (and kneeled) a Chapel full of people praying the Rosary. This was not what I was expecting. There I stood needing to go into the Chapel, but I did not have a Rosary and knew nothing about the Rosary. I just stood there looking in.
I heard a little voice behind me ask if he could help me. I turned around and there was a man standing there. I said, "Well, I'm Baptist, but this is my time and I don't know what to do." This man was so kind and gentle. He took me into the main entry where the Church kept some books and coloring books that could be bought for a donation, and he bought me a book on how to pray the Rosary. He explained it to me and told me it was mine to keep so that the next time I would not have to be nervous about entering.
I went back to the Chapel with more peace, but the group of people praying the Rosary had already gone. I signed in, double genuflected as the woman on the phone said I should, and there I sat. After a few minutes, there was a tap on my shoulder. It was the same gentleman, only this time he was handing me a blue plastic Rosary! To this day, I wish I could find this man and share with him some of the events that have transpired in my life! What may have seemed a small gesture to him, ended up being huge for me. I carried that coloring book and Rosary with me every time I went to Adoration, but never again did I see that man or the Rosary group.
I have to be honest and admit that at first it was hard for me to sit for a whole hour. Over time, God would be working on me, though and ever so subtly, my whole being was changing. I also have to admit, when I first entered the Chapel, I felt pretty needy and therefore my prayers were pretty selfish.My biggest prayer was for something to change with my husband's work situation that would enable me to have another child and stay-at-home with my children. I had many other prayers as well. I basically talked to God about everything. I even asked him if my daughter could go to a Catholic School someday.
MANNA FROM HEAVEN
Well, an amazing thing started happening, as an overabundance of my prayers were answered. At first, it was sort of like a light "sprinkle" when you are not quite sure that it is really raining so you look up to the sky to see if the rain is really falling! Before long, I was knee deep in answered prayers! It was an amazing realization when I understood that God was listening, hearing, and answering me. I had always believed in God, but it had never felt so personal! I guess I was surprised that he was really hearing me! I started telling people that it was like "Jesus was in the Chapel." I told one friend that if praying is like calling Heaven, the Adoration Chapel is like Jesus picking up and saying hello instead of your getting an answering machine. I began to cherish my time in the Chapel.
During this time, I truly had so many prayers answered. I likened myself to the Prodigal Son. I was lost, but now I had come home so God threw a party for me and gave me the fatted lamb!
It was also during this time that another change happened. There was another major layoff at his company, and this time his job was not spared.
It was at this time that I felt the peace that only God can give. It would have been my normal tendency to get very stressed over the situation, but I knew that God was in the process of answering my main prayer. It was obvious to me that God's plan involved my husband getting a different job and the almost certainty of our relocating.I also had a sense of calmness and peace over the issue of how we would survive until this plan of God's was fulfilled. We had little savings, and we would now be living off of my baby-sitting money, the unemployment check, and God’s mercy.
This was a very hard and humbling time for us! It is very difficult on a man to be out of work! The only thing I had was my prayer and hope! During this difficult 5 month layoff was the first time I turned to Jesus' mother, Mary. Since I had my little coloring book and my plastic Rosary, I figured I might as well give it a try. One night while my husband was away on an interview, I sat on my bed and prayed the Rosary. I remember being surprised as I looked at the prayers. Basically, I found that when you prayed the Rosary, you were just asking Mary to pray for you. And the mysteries were mostly about biblical stories. I did not see anything offensive about it at all! It is quite amazing how God had softened my heart.
I can't tell you how we made it through! God truly gave us manna from Heaven! Literally and figuratively! During this time, things always fell into our laps right as we needed them. Despite having some dry periods where there were no calls and no interviews, My husband received three job offers right as the unemployment money was about to run out. We were so blessed. Any choice that he would make would enable me to stay with my daughter. My prayer had been answered, and God had almost doubled my husband's pay rate. What an awesome God we have! My husband looked at all of his choices, and selected what he thought would be the best, most stable job in an area he thought I would like. We would be moving to the Atlanta Metro Area.
Now that he had a job, we would have to get some things moving. We needed to get the house on the market and prepare to move. This would also mean that I would have to quit my Perpetual Adoration time. My husband would be leaving soon, and my daughter and I would be on our own.
GOD ROLES THE RED CARPET TO ATLANTA
A day and a half after our house was on the market, it sold! My life became a whirlwind! My husband was already in Atlanta, so I was on my own. I would work all day baby-sitting, get home about 6:30, fix dinner, get my daughter bathed and to bed, and then would stay up packing the house.
God basically rolled the red carpet all the way to Atlanta! He helped us in so many ways. We even ended up clearing $10,000 on the sale of our humble little house that would enable us to put a decent down payment on another house. Things really began to fall in place, and we were finally able to save back a little money because my daughter and I moved in with my parents until we had finished wrapping up the details of our house in Atlanta!
Moving to Atlanta was to be an adventure. I had never been to Georgia before I came up for a househunting weekend. I came during the Spring, and I could not imagine anything more beautiful. The Azaleas and Dogwood trees were in bloom, and it was stunning! God really gave me such a peaceful and joyous feeling! New life was all around symbolizing the new life that we would soon find.
The move was a normal move, with the unpacking and organizing, but one day while unpacking, I looked in my daughter's room and saw her looking out her window at some big kids playing. This broke my heart. We had spent almost all of her life with the boys, and now she had no one to play with. Since we had also not looked for a Church yet (remember- this is a conversion story!!), I decided to try to find one with a playgroup. I called a Catholic Church in the phone book and asked if they had a play group. The woman said that they did, and she gave me the number of the woman who was coordinating it. It ended up that this was a brand new group of moms coming together. We joined the group and the Church.
I was not at my new Church long before I felt a tugging on my heart to get back to Perpetual Adoration. I was overjoyed when, a few weeks later, I saw Perpetual Adoration advertised in our Church bulletin. I was so excited that I called to set up my Saturday morning time. During my discussion with the lady, however, I found that the Perpetual Adoration was not at my Church. It was at the Cathedral, and at the time it seemed really far. She told me that my Church had a once a month Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and perhaps that would work for me. Naively, I said that since they did that, it shouldn't be too much more to get a Perpetual one! I said I would try to do that!
As soon as I hung up with this lady, I called my Church and asked someone there if we could get a Perpetual Adoration. I was informed that we did not have enough people to support one. Well, I've never been one to argue or really even stand up and express my feelings with anyone, so I said, "Okay" and hung up. I figured I would just start doing the monthly Adoration. In September of 1994, during my time in the Adoration Chapel, I wrote a prayer to God to please send Perpetual Adoration to Transfiguration.
Now, let's set some things clear here, at this time all that I knew was that this was a very powerful 24 hour prayer room. I did not even know the word Eucharist or have a clue as to WHO it was! I was quite happy being a Baptist going to a Catholic Church, and I saw no reason to convert.
Well, just a few short months after my writing the prayer request, there was an announcement at Church that we would be getting Perpetual Adoration." I couldn't believe it! I was so excited. Apparently a Priest who traveled around setting up Perpetual Adorations would be coming to speak at the Masses and get us started...
FINDING JESUS IN THE EUCHARIST
Around this same time, something else incredibly life changing happened. It was the Parish Mission with Vince Ambrocetti as the guest speaker. Incredible does not describe this mission for me! Holy Spirit filled would be a better description. Vince Ambrocetti has a beautiful singing voice and beautiful stories to share.
On one night in particular, he started telling a story of a Priest in Lanciano, Italy in the 8th Century AD. At this time a Basilian monk was struggling a little with his belief in the true presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. Well, as he was consecrating the bread and wine, they turned into flesh and blood. Vince Ambrocetti described all of the medical tests that they flesh and blood underwent. The flesh was found to be that of a human heart and the blood was found to be human blood. The flesh consists of muscular tissue of a heart. Both the flesh and the blood have AB blood type. Both of these were also left in their natural state for twelve centuries yet they have not decomposed. When the blood was tested further, it was found to be living blood, even though it had in no way been preserved. Many know that even when we give blood, if it is not refrigerated soon, it will lose the qualities of living blood and be about as good to us as red water. This did not happen with this miracle, and in fact the miracle goes on until today, because they continue to exist in this same state today!
(for more information on this miracle you can check out:
for other miracles you can check out:
Well, upon hearing all of this, I nearly fell out of my chair. It was like I was the only person sitting in that Church, and I knew without a shadow of a doubt that what he was saying was true. I felt it! I knew at this time that I would become Catholic.
It was also during my RCIA time when I had a great trial. After trying 7 months to become pregnancy, I had conceived a baby. I was so happy that I told everyone. I figured things had gone fine with my daughter, so there was no reason to think that all would not be fine. Well, at about 10 weeks into the pregnancy, I miscarried the baby. This crushed me more than I ever could have imagined! Up to this point, I had felt like I was soaring above the Earth. I had definitely been on a spiritual honeymoon. Now the honeymoon was over.
To make matters more mentally difficult for me, one of my prayers had been that if this world was going to go through something horrible in the near future, for God to NOT allow me to become pregnant. I could not bear the thought of a baby suffering. So here I was left wondering if that was why the pregnancy did not continue, and I was wondering if I should even try again. I figured God knew my heart, so when I was able try again, I would leave it in his hands.
A few months later, shortly after becoming Catholic, I remember walking down the stairs to the RCIA room wondering if I might be pregnancy. I remember wondering about the spiritual situation in the world. It was at this time that something very beautiful and mysterious happened to me. Right as I was sitting down, a knowledge came to me that no matter what happens on this Earth, heaven is worth it. At the very same moment, I felt what could be described as the Peace of Heaven running through my body. It was like no Peace on Earth. And at the same time, it gave me an Earthly Peace just knowing the kind of reward that is awaiting us after this life passes away. All of these things happened in what I would call a "nano-second." And, as it turned out, I was pregnant.
Before I wavered quite a bit on this issue. I was one of those "what if-ers"..."What if this happens?" or "What if that happens?" I finally saw it through God's eyes, and I was appalled! How could I have been so blind! I actually used to have a few heated discussions with a friend of mine when she said it needed to be illegal. I explained how it would take away our rights in an emergency situation. Now, I see it in black and white. In Jeremiah 1; 5 God says, "Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you." I now knew that no matter what, you were "choosing" to kill a baby. A baby that God knows. And the "what if-ers" are keeping silent and allowing 1.5 million babies a year to be killed! There is nothing that makes killing a perfectly innocent human being all right. As my heart grows deeper on this issue, I have also learned many disturbing facts that the abortion proponents don't want anyone to know. For instance, they don't want anyone to know that some babies survive abortions. Some babies survive and are left to die in a trash can. They also don't want people to know that there has become a market for baby parts. Many, otherwise great organizations, such as the March of Dimes, do research on aborted fetal tissue. (I was told this first hand when they called to see if I would collect money for them. I asked and they said, “yes they do.”) What makes this different than what the Nazis did? There is a huge difference between someone choosing to allow their body to be used for research after a natural death and using a baby that has been ripped from the safety of his mother's womb.
Abortion does not "take away the problem!" It creates more. Through the years, I have known many women who have had abortions for various reasons, and tens of years later, these ladies still cry for their lost babies. God please take the blinders away that Satan has put over our eyes and help us to end abortion!!!!!!!!!!!
HER SOUL MAGNIFIES THE LORD
Shortly after my conversion, a friend of mine loaned me a book called, Medjugorje the Message by Wayne Weible. That book had a profound affect on my life.One of the messages that I learned through the apparitions was a call to Consecrate our lives to the Heart of Jesus through Mary. Well, I remember sitting on my bed one night when my husband was out-of-town saying that I would like to be Consecrated, but I had no idea what that meant. I told God that if He was going to have to tell me what it meant.Within about a year, I noticed an advertisement in the Church bulletin about a group getting together to pray the Rosary. I felt in my heart that this was something I was supposed to attend. This group was a God-sent!! It seemed as if we all brought something to the group, so we all grew and came away with so much more. We were all from different backgrounds and were all different ages, but we had a love for Jesus and the Church he established. Another gift I was given at this group was the information I had prayed for about the Consecration. One of my new friends brought in booklets for everyone on how to prepare and make a Consecration to Jesus through the Heart of Mary. Another answered prayer!! God is so incredibly awesome!!
A BEAUTIFUL SIGNAL GRACE
On my first trip back home to Texas after my consecration, I was blessed to see these graces in a very profound way. I did have a bit of a dilemma on this trip, though. As a part of the Consecration, I had agree to attend Mass on the first Saturday of each month as a reparation for the sin of people ignoring Jesus' mother. And this trip happened to be over the weekend of the First Saturday. Well, I had called all of the Catholic Churches surrounding my mother's house, and none of them had a First Saturday AM Mass, so I decided to call my old Church even though it was farther away. As fate would have it, they had a First Saturday Mass. My only problem now was that it was very early in the morning. Usually when I visited my parents, my mother and I stayed up really late talking, and I did not have an alarm in my room. I did not want to ask my parents to wake me up. I put it in God's hands. The next morning at 6 AM, my eyes popped open. I had time to get myself ready while my son, 5 months old, slept (miracle). I then got him ready, and pulled up to the Church just in time for Mass.
At this point, my son was getting a little bit restless, but I thought that since this was where it all started, I would go into the Perpetual Adoration Chapel and say "HI" to Jesus. Upon entering the Chapel, it was quite full, so I had to sit at the very front of the Chapel. I got down on my knees, put my son on my shoulder, and pulled out my Rosary hoping to get in a few Hail Marys before my son got too restless. It was at that moment that it happened...the biggest signal grace of my life- to that date. The moment I pulled out my Rosary, a woman began leading the people in Praying the Rosary. I almost started crying, for this was a very profound moment for me! Here I knelt at the front of the Chapel praying the Rosary with the same people who I had stood at the back just watching three years earlier. I had never seen this group after my first time to Adoration, and here they were again. Only this time it was different, very different, for the Lord had brought me full circle. He had allowed certain events to happen in my life that allowed me to be desperate enough to hear his call to Adoration. He showed me his great power, he had moved me across the country, enlightened me to his real presence in the Eucharist, introduced me to his mother, and her I knelt with a deep awareness that our God is so awesome that he really does go after the one lost sheep! I was lost but now I'm found! I was blind but now I see!
Praised be the Lord Jesus Christ!!
MORE SIGNAL GRACES:
*The year I moved to the Atlanta Metro area, Archbishop Donoghue had a year-long Eucharistic Renewal. This renewal started on the Feast Day of the Corpus Christi (Body of Christ.) On this particular year, it fell on my birthday, June 9th.
*About 1 1/2 years after becoming Catholic, I found out that the hospital I was born in, Seton Hospital, was actually Elizabeth Ann Seton Hospital, a Catholic Hospital. This was in spite of the fact that I was a little Baptist girl with a father in the Air Force, so I could have been born in a Military Hospital.
*To add to the above signal grace: After becoming Catholic, I found that my sponsor into the Catholic Church graduated from Elizabeth Ann Seton High School- "before she was a Saint" as well. And to add to that, she graduated the same year I was born!!
*My father was in the military, and when I was a toddler we lived in Germany.During this time, we visited Rome, the Vatican, was in audience with the Pope and walked through the catacombs.
*When it was time to send my daughter to kindergarden, my husband and I were not sure what to do. We both wanted to send her to Catholic school, but we did not have the money to do so. We had many discussions about it, but had decided that it was impossible. We missed orientation days at the Catholic school, etc. I continued to have a nagging feeling like we were supposed to try. We finally sat down and discussed it again! My husband made the very true comment that it would be quite embarrassing if she got in because we could not afford to pay for it. There was quite an extensive waiting list for this school, so I told him that if she got in it would be a miracle from God, so he would also give us a way to pay for it. We got her application in on the date of the deadline. A few weeks later, we received a call "out of the blue" from a headhunter and my husband was offered a position at another company with JUST enough money to pay for the school! My husband got the job and my daughter was accepted into the school!
*After we had had Perpetual Adoration at our Parish for sometime, I was asked to speak at Coffeebreak (woman's group) about my experiences. I can tend to be painfully shy and nervous about public speaking. I had a basic outline written and knew pretty much of the points that I wanted to get across. I was very nervous as I spoke, but after a while I got a little more relaxed. I popped out with the statement, " I don't know. I guess I'm just hooked." As soon as the word "hooked" came out of my mouth, I started thinking about how negative the word "hooked" can be. I thought of drugs and alcohol, etc. When I finished speaking with the ladies, I can't describe how I felt, but it was weird! Electric? Woozy? High on Jesus? I can't really describe it, but I knew I needed to go into Adoration. I didn't have much time in there before I had to pick my daughter up from school, so I picked up a small 15 page booklet to glance through. I started to read through an article on page 9 "Let us Return to the Lord." On the third page of the article, this is the quote I found from Meister Eckhart:
"God lies in wait for us with nothing so much as love. for love resembles the fisherman's hook. Once the fish takes the hook, the fisherman is sure of the fish, twist and turn as it may, this way or that. And so I say of love; the one who is caught by it has the strongest of bonds, and yet a pleasant burden...he can cheerfully forgive whatever evil is done to him. Nothing brings you closer to God or makes God so much your own as the sweet bond of love. The one who has found this way need seek no other. The one who hangs on this hook is caught so fast that foot and hand, mouth and eyes and heart, and all that is the person, belong to God...watch for this hook so as to be blessedly caught---for the more you are caught, the more you are free."
*On the way home in the car one day, I was thinking about the reading that I would do at my cousins wedding, 1 Cor. 13 "Love is Patient. Love is Kind..." This was all I could really think of, so I dwelled on what it means to be TRULY patient and kind. I thought about my married life, and the ways which I am patient, and the ways which I could be more patient. When I got home, later that same day, I picked up a book called: The Apostolate of Holy Motherhood and this is what it said:
Blessed Mother: "My Son has instructed you in the virtue of patience. This I wish to be practiced among all members of my Apostolate in a special way and to a great degree. Love is patient, love is kind. Remember this well and put it into practice so that in fulfilling your daily duties you will attain a higher perfection. Do all for the glory of God as you carry out your day and it will take on a greater meaning and depth. Go Now and tend to your duties with love and patience."
* When at this last month's First Friday/First Saturday vigil, I was asked by a stranger to do one of the nine readings. I did not read over it until it was my time to read. At first, I did not notice what it was that I was chosen to read, but before long, I realized that I had been chosen to read one of my favorite verses from John. I am unsure what verse it started with, but before long, I was reading:
"I am the bread of life. Your ancestors ate the manna in the desert, but they died; this is the bread that comes down from heaven so that one may eat it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I give is my flesh for the life of the world."
Jews quarreled among themselves, saying, "How can this man give us [his]
flesh to eat?" Jesus said to them, "Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you
eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life
within you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life,
and I will raise him on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my
blood is true drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains
in me and I in him. Just as the living Father sent me and I have life because
of the Father, so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of
me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Unlike your ancestors
who ate and still died, whoever eats this bread will live forever."
The following is from a pamphlet called "The connection between contraception and abortion" by Dr. Janet E. Smith:
Many in the pro-life movements are reluctant to make a connection between contraception and abortion. With some contraception's there is not only a link with abortion, there is an identity. Some contraception's are abortifacient's; they work by causing early term abortions...The pill does not always stop ovulation but sometimes prevents implantation of the growing embryo....
"in some critical respects abortion is the same character as the decision to use contraception...for two decades of economic and social developments, people have organized intimate relationships and made choices that define their views of themselves and their places in society, in reliance on the availability of abortion in the event that contraception should fail..."
If you are interested in getting the pamphlet quoted above or the awesome tape, contact:
ONE MORE SOUL
1846 North Main St.
Dayton, OH 45405
Following is another article by Dr. Smith about what Pope Paul VI prophesied (about 25 years ago) what would happen if the use of contraceptions became widespread:
As I have journeyed closer to Christ as he is found in his fullness in the Catholic faith, I have found an ever increasing need to defend the faith. Many times this is with Catholics who have accepted compromises to the Truth that their faith contains! We must never forget, Jesus is the way, the TRUTH, and the life! And he cannot be contradicting truths! Many times as I do this, I wonder if I am doing it in vain. I pray for God to let me know how he thinks I am doing. This last week after writing on the Immaculate Conception, I asked God this same question and then flipped open my Bible randomly. This is what I read:
Isaiah 49- The Servant of the Lord
"Hear me, O coastlands,
listen, O distant peoples.
The Lord called me from birth,
from my mother's womb he gave me my name.
He made of me a sharp-edge sword
and concealed me in the shadow of his arm.
He made me a polished arrow,
in his quiver he hid me.
You are my servant, he said to me,
Israel, through whom I show my glory.
Though I thought I had toiled in vain,
and for nothing, uselessly, spending my strength,
Yet my reward is with the Lord,
my recompense is with my God.
For now the Lord has spoken
who formed me as his servant from the womb,
That Jacob may be brought back to him
and Israel gathered to him;
And I am made glorious in the sight of the Lord,
and my God is now my strength!
It is too little, he says, for you to be my servant,
to raise up the tribes of Jacob,
and restore the survivors of Israel;
I will make you a light to the nations,
that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.
Thus says the Lord,
the redeemer and the Holy One of Israel,
To the one despised, whom the nations abhor,
the slave of rulers:
When kings see you, they shall stand up,
and princes shall prostrate themselves
Because of the Lord who is faithful,
the Holy One of Israel who has chosen you."
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