Posts Tagged ‘Prayers answered’

More awesomeness from Likable Art‘s Cory Heimann.  I want to publicly thank Cory for acting on the impulse to send me this video because I really needed to be confirmed in that message today and I feel blessed and honored to have gotten it when I did.  Thank you Cory!

Our Savior lives!  Happy Easter, dear friends, happy Easter!



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I saw this prayer on the weblog of Sr. Mary Margaret Funk, O.S.B.  I thought it was magnificent.  When we find things that leap out at us at any given moment, we need to take note, stop, reflect, meditate and pray on it.  What is the God trying to tell me?  Where is the Holy Spirit guiding me?  Why this?  Why now?  Why me?

Prayer of Philaret, Metropolitan of Moscow

My Lord, I know not what I ought to ask from You.

You and You alone know my needs.

You love me more than I am able to love You.

O Father, grant unto me, Your servant, all which I cannot ask.

For a cross I dare not ask, nor for consolation;

I dare only to stand in Your presence.

My heart is open to You.

You see my needs of which I myself am unaware.

Behold and lift me up!

In Your presence I stand, awed and silenced by Your will and Your wisdom,

into which my mind cannot penetrate.

To You I offer myself as a sacrifice.

No other desire is mine but to fulfill Your will.

Teach me how to pray.

Do Yourself pray within me.


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Today is Ash Wednesday.  When I was young, this day was one of my least favorite days of the year, competing with Good Friday for awfulness.  The Lenten season was drudgery and pain and meant that I couldn’t eat chocolate or the newly delivered Girl Scout cookies.  I felt bad about Jesus dying.   Forty days dragged on and on.  But God is good and I grew in my faith and my understanding of this liturgical season.  Lent is now my favorite season, and Ash Wednesday one of my favorite days on the Church calendar.

Tonight, something wonderful happened at our parish for our Mass.  It was full of people!  Not just “Sunday morning at 11 am” full, either — it was overflowing, as in Midnight Mass overflowing.  All the seats were taken, we squished in, my family took our usual “no kneeler” pew and every spot was filled.  People lined the back walls and sat on folding chairs in the narthex.   It was very moving.  Fr. Tom watched in awe as more and more people came in.  This, for a Wednesday Mass that is no longer a holy day of obligation.  When we sang the Kyrie Eleison, the sound of so many voices brought tears to my eyes.  Fr. Tom, known for his good homilies, knocked it out of the ballpark with a straightforward challenge to each of us to fast earnestly throughout Lent, to suffer and deny ourselves.  He said, if there is no medical reason why you cannot fast, there is every spiritual reason to do so.  Can you do it?  Will you do it for Jesus?

On the way out of church, I noticed that the little Lenten black books were being snatched up too.

What does this mean?    Is it a reflection on our economy?  on the state of the nation?  Are people scared?  Is it a revival within our parish or the Catholic Church?  I don’t know, and I can’t speculate on that, but there were a lot of souls who needed to be there tonight, and it was a blessed thing to see.  So many souls receiving ashes on their forehead and reminders to turn away from our sins and be faithful to the gospel.

To that I say, “Amen, Amen.”

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God’s amazing plan…

We remember it today, we celebrate it, and hopefully we are awed by it. 

May peace be with you all throughout this year.  May the wonder of God’s creation and Jesus’ incarnation stay with you long past the removal of your Christmas lights.  Please keep me, my family, your pastor, the Church and Pope Benedict in your prayers.  You are in mine.

God bless you.

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I just read a beautiful story of grace, love and conversion and I want to share it with you.  The Diocese of Davenport‘s Catholic Messenger article came to my attention via the Catholic News Agency who reprinted it with permission.

Even a year after her passing, Nancy Graf’s work continues.

Only these days, it’s through her husband.

A formerly inactive Catholic, Bill Graf, 61, now plays the part once played by one of the most active members of St. Thomas More Parish in Coralville. Filling Nancy’s spot in various ministries — including the Evangelization and Stewardship Commission, Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults and parish council — is part therapy, part way to honor the memory of a woman he calls “the definition of a servant leader.”

Her gift for service began to appear to Bill when he was a junior at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minn. Nancy Lijewski, then a junior at the College of St. Catherine in St. Paul and an acquaintance of Bill, was visiting his apartment with friends when she slipped from his sight. Looking for her, he found her at the kitchen sink, washing his dishes.

Soon after, the two started dating. They wed when Bill was a senior, on Jan. 31, 1970.

When they moved to Iowa City in 1975, Nancy began teaching religious education and volunteering for other ministries at St. Thomas More Parish. But Bill, then an information system analyst at University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics, spent Sunday mornings working or sleeping in.

“I thought it was my duty to work and support my family,” says the father of four. “… I kind of floated away from the church.”

Nancy’s example left an impression on him, though. A researcher at the National Resource Center for Family-Centered Practice at the University of Iowa School of Social Work, she filled her free time volunteering for St. Thomas More.  What activities would give him purpose during retirement, he wondered as he grew older.

What happened Dec. 7, 2008, ultimately motivated him to make changes. That day, Nancy was returning home from her sister’s house near La Crosse, Wis., where Nancy was finishing her master’s degree in servant leadership at Viterbo University. While driving along U.S. 52 near Decorah in snowy weather, her minivan spun into the left lane and was struck by an oncoming car. When first responders arrived, Bill says, they couldn’t find Nancy’s pulse.

“Right after the accident I felt that a part of me died,” he says. He was plagued by guilt, too, and thoughts of how he might have prevented the tragedy.

But after talking with a friend who’d also lost his wife, Bill realized he had two options: “You can lose hope or you can continue. You can turn to despair or you can turn to the church.” 

In hopes of seeing Nancy again, in heaven, he chose the latter. So a few weeks after the accident, he asked his friend Lee Gullickson, a member of St. Thomas More, to tell him more about what Nancy had been involved in at the parish.

Bill wrote a list of her activities — including the Evangelization and Stewardship Commission, choir, Christian Experience Weekend, baptism preparation, knitting ministry, Church Life and Family Life Commission, and several other groups.

Then he got involved. He joined the Evangelization and Stewardship Commission. He served as a lector. He assisted the steering committee for the parish’s new church. He donated funds for a baptismal font. He gave a witness talk to a stewardship group.

“I told him once that Nancy must be channeling through him,” says Father Walter Helms, St. Thomas More’s pastor.  “… He has done so much for us.”

Bill’s relationship with God has changed, too. “I find myself talking to God more,” asking for strength, he says. “I find it much more personal.”

He recalls talking with Nancy a few years ago about their priorities; she listed God first. “To be honest, I was a little jealous,” he says. “She picked God over me.” But after he took part in the St. Ambrose Stewardship Institute earlier this year, he began to understand her choice.

Bill wishes he could talk about that new insight with Nancy. But he says that because they were “so close” for nearly 40 years, “over time I am realizing that Nancy lives within me, or at least part of her.”

Katie Graf, 25, and Joe Graf, 32, Bill’s two youngest children, say they’re proud of how their dad has responded to tragedy. Besides renewing his faith, he’s become more open, a better listener, Katie says — and their relationship has grown.

But it’s Bill’s growth in faith that answers a request Nancy had long prayed for, Katie notes. “That’s the one thing she really wanted for my dad,” she says. “She is really happy now.”

God works through each of us, everyday.  Do you know that?  Can you feel that?  Let us pray that we allow God to work through us and even more challenging, let us pray that we see God working through the people in our lives, and allow God’s grace to move our hearts back to Him.

See God in your family and friends today.  Allow God to work through them.

Wife’s passing inspires Iowa man’s renewal of faith.

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An absolutely beautiful story of love, sacrifice and the gift of life from The Michigan Catholic.  A must-read!

Such a little girl, such a big miracle

by Jared Field of The Michigan Catholic
Published October 30, 2009

Coping With Grief

Marysville – Glenn and Kim Miller, joined in chorus by a choir of family and friends, prayed without ceasing for their miracle in miniature.

“We prayed all the time,” said Glenn, who lost his 9-month-old baby daughter, Emma, to a rare chromosomal disorder in May. “We prayed for a healthy baby. And, thinking back, I think we actually got a miracle.

“God wanted Emma to come up to heaven with him, so that’s what he did; we prayed enough that he gave us nine and a half months with her.”

After just 26 weeks in the womb, Emma was officially diagnosed with Trisomy 18, a genetic disorder caused by the presence of all or part of an extra 18th chromosome.

The couple recalls the bleak prognosis placed upon their little miracle, and the firestorm of emotions that enveloped them.

“They were telling us she probably wouldn’t be born alive or, if she was, it would just be a few days, or weeks – certainly a short time,” said Glenn, 45.

Kim said that, at the time, she was told that only 10 percent of babies born with the disorder live to see their first birthday and that the majority don’t make it to term. Due to the dire prognosis, the Millers were presented with the option of giving up on their miracle and inducing labor to save the family from further grief.

“That was not an option,” Kim admitted. “We knew this was the baby God chose for us to have. We just left it in God’s hands; in His will … I wasn’t going to change it.”

Even still, Kim didn’t know what God had planned for the future of her family, now six strong.

Click here to read the rest of the story.

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I’m like…totally mad at Michael Barber.  I totally did an entire fake interview with him and like, completely didn’t know that he and Kim were expecting another baby!  I’m really bummed.  People will think we don’t know each other!  I might not ever make up another interview with him.  :-P 

All joking aside…congratulations to Michael and Kim Barber and welcome to Matthew Stephen, who really DID hit the lottery to be born into such a sweet family.  Blessings and prayers for all the Barber family!

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