Back To School, Prayer

Back to school 2014

This week our five children returned to school.  Our oldest entered 8th grade and our baby, kindergarten.   The beginning of a new school year brings excitement and a return to routine in our daily life: homework, extra-curricular activities, dinner as a family at the table, and earlier bedtimes.  During the summer, when our schedules were more relaxed, I had set a personal goal of reading small bits of scripture with my children, hoping the stories would become more ingrained in their heart and mind, and that they would come to know better who Jesus was to them.  Our 4th grader was very interested in reading her children’s bible on most nights, but I wasn’t as successful as I had hoped with the others.  As parents, we establish the family values, goals and expectations; I wonder which ones will take root and still be with my children when they are grown.

Summer also brought a fall for my mom, resulting in fractures that required her to spend 7 weeks in a rehab center.  Because she would be going home with a walker, my siblings decided to de-clutter her house to make getting around easier for her.  Have you ever cleaned out your parents’ home, while they were in the hospital, or after they passed away?  It can be a rather odd experience, going through their drawers, closets, and personal belongings, finding old letters that were written to loved ones, jewelry that had been saved from a deceased relative or everyday items that were stashed in a special drawer, clues to what your mom or dad held close.  Sifting through your parents’ possessions while trying to protect their privacy and dignity can be an overwhelming, frustrating and emotional experience.  (I’m blessed that my older siblings let me “off the hook” this time, and shared this chore between them.)

My mom is turning 85 at the end of the month, and has been known for writing in a journal. She jotted down memories of us growing up in little notebooks or even scraps of paper, and documented important dates or events with a photo attached. She even recorded details of my dad’s deteriorating health last year as she cared for him up to his death.  My mom also wrote down many prayers and scripture passages over the years that were meaningful to her.  While tidying her home, my eldest sister, Debbie, found this prayer. It was typed on an old-fashioned type writer, and the paper was slightly yellowed.  It was tucked into a big stack of books in the corner of her home, and could have easily been overlooked.  My sister shared it with me, and it reminded me of my daily struggles and how I wrestle with who is in control: God or me?

 

Our Thinking versus God’s Promises

It’s impossible.

               All things are possible. (Luke 18:27)

 I’m too tired.

               I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28-30)

 Nobody really loves me.

               I love you. (John 3:16)

 I can’t go on.

               My grace is sufficient.  (11 Cor. 12:19)

 I can’t figure things out.

               I will direct your steps. (Proverbs 20:24)

 I can’t do it.

               You can do all things. (Phil 4:13)

 I’m not able.

                    I am able. (11 Co. 9:8)

 It’s not worth it.

               It will be worth it. (Rom. 8:28)

 I can’t forgive myself.

               I will supply all your needs. (Phil. 4:19)

 I’m afraid.

               I have not given you a spirit of fear. (11 Tim. 1:7)

I’m always worried and frustrated.

               Cast all your cares on Me. (1 Peter 5:7)

I don’t have enough faith.

               I’ve given everyone a measure of faith. (Rom. 12:8)

I’m not smart enough.

               I give you wisdom. (1 Cor. 1:30)

I feel all alone.

               I will never leave you or forsake you. (Heb. 13:5)

 

This prayer is a beautiful reminder that God’s promises are far better than what we come up with on our own, in our human condition. Often, we fall short when we rely on Our Thinking, but if we instead entrust ourselves to God’s Promises, our lives will be a lot easier!

This week is the one-year anniversary of my ministry, Creating Space, and my blog.  As I look back over the year, and even just this summer, I see that some things I had hoped to achieve didn’t happen; my children didn’t memorize scripture (a discipline I admire in our protestant brothers and sisters).  Yet in finding this prayer that my mom had tucked away, I can see how she relied on scripture throughout her life, and without using actual words, she taught me to do the same. Perhaps when my children are 45 they will find my old-fashion blog writings, and have a glimpse of how scripture played a part in my faith, and hopefully their own, as well.

This blog is based on the personal experiences and opinions of Peggy O’Flaherty. Any reproduction of the material in this blog may be used with written consent of the author by e-mail at peggy@creatingspaceinyourlife.com.

Peggy O’Flaherty, is a certified spiritual director, public speaker, blog writer, wife and mother of five children. Her recent writing projects include “New App For your Phone Connect your Parish, Growing the Faith, One Parish” and “Extending Compassion, Losing a Child & Evangelization” She is the Founder & President of Creating Space, LLC., a ministry helping people enrich their faith. Follow Peggy at www.creatingspaceinyourlife.com

Catholic Network Radio WSFI 88.5 FM OneParish

Good morning, wanted to share this great interview.

Special Presentation: Interview with Shane O’Flaherty

August 8, 2014

Bill Snyder interviews Shane O’Flaherty, COO and Co-Founder of Growing the Faith about their new smart phone App One Parish. For more information about One Parish visit OneParish.com. This segment was recorded at the 2014 Catholic Marketing Network Trade Show in Schamburg, IL.

http://wsfi.podbean.com/e/special-presentation-interview-with-shane-oflaherty/

Blessed Mother Teresa – 33 Days to Morning Glory

33 days to Morning Glory

Illinois Benedictine University had an amazing event in March, where I had the honor of speaking to the Campus Ministry students. The keynote speaker was Eric Mahl, a former Cleveland Browns football player, who was transformed by God’s forgiving love. Eric shared with me “A Do-It-Yourself Retreat”, basically a 5-minute prayer practice to begin my day. Father Michael E. Gaitley, Director of the Association of Marian Helpers (a community of priest and brothers that has been instrumental in spreading the message of The Divine Mercy),  has written this 33 Days to Morning Glory, which has had an amazing impact on my life. The reading from this morning (Day 16) was from the Blessed Mother Teresa. She shared with her fellow sisters, The Missionaries of Charity, a vision she had of Jesus. I feel it was written for each and every one of us.

“Jesus wants me to tell you again…..how much love He has for each one of you – beyond all you can imagine. I worry some of you still have not really met Jesus – one to one – you and Jesus alone. We may spend time in chapel – but have you seen with the eyes of your soul how He looks at you with love? Do you really know the living Jesus – not from books but from being with Him in your heart? Have you heard the loving words He speaks to you? Ask for the grace, He is longing to give it. Until you can hear Jesus in the silence of your own heart, you will not be able to hear Him saying ‘I thrist’ in the hearts of the poor. Never give up this daily intimate contact with Jesus as the real living person – not just the idea. How can we last even one day without hearing Jesus say “I love you” – impossible. Our soul needs that as much as the body needs to breathe the air. If not, prayer is dead – meditation only thinking. Jesus wants you each to hear Him – speaking in the silence of your heart.” “Be careful of all that can block that personal contact with the living Jesus. The Devil may try to use hurts of life, and sometimes our own mistakes – to make you feel it is impossible that Jesus really loves you, is really cleaving to you. This is a danger for all of us. And so sad, because it is completely opposite of what Jesus is really wanting, waiting to tell you. Not only that He loves you, but even more – He longs for you. He misses you when you don’t come close. He thirsts for you. He loves you always, even when you don’t feel worthy. When not accepted by others, even by yourself sometimes – He is the one who always accepts you. My Children, you don’t have to be different for Jesus to love you. Only believe – you are precious to Him. Bring all your suffering to His feet – only open your heart to be loved by Him as you are. He will do the rest.”

These two paragraphs above could probably be enough prayer for me for a lifetime. I believe the love that God has for us is the model we are to use for all other relationships in our life. I think of how my 5-year-old longs for me to play a board game or jump around in the pool with her or cuddle to read a book. How often am I distracted and fail to acknowledge the love she is waiting to share with me? On that note, I am going to go cuddle with her and watch a morning cartoon.

If you would like to read more about the 33-Day Morning Glory, or obtain copies of this prayer, please check out their website below. http://33daystomorningglory.blogspot.com/p/small-group-resources.html

All Are Welcome – Gossip

This weekend I fell short of being the person I think God intended me to be.   I should have stood up for someone that was being talked about and couldn’t defend themselves.   Often I talk with individuals about the purpose of The Church, about The Body of The Church and how each one of us represents The Body of The Church.   I learned this lesson from my Dad, as he would say “We represent the church by our actions and our words.”   This hit home when our family attended mass this weekend and I heard the following song, I was reminded of the lessons my Dad taught me.    

 

All Are Welcome

By Marty Haugen 

“Let us build a house where love can dwell and all can safely live.

A place where saints and children tell how hearts learn to forgive.

Built of hopes and dreams and visions, rock of faith and vault of grace.

Here the love of Christ shall end divisions;

All are welcome, all are welcome all are welcome in this place.”

 

When we fail to defend someone if they are present or not (if we gossip) aren’t we causing division?   The gossip divides us and others, as well as us from God.   Creating Space the name of my ministry has always been a way of life for me to find space in my life to reflect upon how I am living my life.   In this area of my life I have room for improvement.  I could say much more on this topic, but for now will just end with a short youtube video with this hymn.

 

 

 

Family Values – Teaching Our Children To Pray

This morning I was interviewed for a parenting article about the O’Flaherty Family values.  If I had to sum the interview up in two words it would be LOVE and FAMILY.  Both of these things in our family are rooted in our faith.   In continuing my summer plan to impart small bits of scripture to our children, I am blessed with the gospel reading for today which is from Matthew 6:7-15.

Jesus said to his disciples This is how you are to pray:

“Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.  Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”

Cillian and Mother Mary

Back in 1965, Pope Paul VI had a little something to say about parents and their role in educating their children:

“Since parents have given children their life, they are bound by the most serious obligation to educate their offspring and therefore must be recognized as the primary and principal educators.(11) This role in education is so important that only with difficulty can it be supplied where it is lacking. Parents are the ones who must create a family atmosphere animated by love and respect for God and man, in which the well-rounded personal and social education of children is fostered. Hence the family is the first school of the social virtues that every society needs. It is particularly in the Christian family, enriched by the grace and office of the sacrament of matrimony, that children should be taught from their early years to have a knowledge of God according to the faith received in Baptism, to worship Him, and to love their neighbor. Here, too, they find their first experience of a wholesome human society and of the Church. Finally, it is through the family that they are gradually led to a companionship with their fellow men and with the people of God. Let parents, then, recognize the inestimable importance a truly Christian family has for the life and progress of God’s own people.” (Declaration on Christian Education, Gravissimum Educationis

Thanks to Amanda another blogger at Worthy of Agape, http://worthyofagape.com/2014/06/11/according-to-the-law-of-christ/ for her quote from the Pope.

Wondering if you can share what are two words that would express your family values?

This blog is based on the personal experiences and opinions of Peggy O’Flaherty. Any reproduction of the material in this blog may be used with written consent of the author by e-mail at peggy@creatingspaceinyourlife.com. Peggy O’Flaherty, is a certified spiritual director, public speaker, blog writer, wife and mother of five children. Her recent writing projects include “Who Is Listening?” and “Why Clean Your Garage?” She is the Founder & President of Creating Space, LLC., a ministry helping people enrich their faith. Follow Peggy at http://www.creatingspaceinyourlife.com

Pentecost Connection

Image

Pentecost Sunday is one of the most ancient feast of the Church, celebrated early enough to be mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles (20:16).    In that account we hear Jews from all over were gathered in Jerusalem to celebrate the Jewish feast.  On that Sunday, ten days after our Lord’s Ascension, the Apostles and Blessed Virgin Mary were gathered in the Upper Room and suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a mighty wind and filled the whole house and then tongues as it were of fire sat upon each of them.   They were filled with the Holy Ghost and granted gifts of the Spirit.   The Apostles began preaching and about 3,000 were baptized that day.   Pentecost is often called “the birthday of the Church.”

Gifts of the Holy Spirit were not limited to the Apostles alone.   We receive gifts from the Holy Spirit, as well during baptism and then during Confirmation a friend of mine explained it as if the Holy Spirit comes in and stirs up those gifts, so we can go and share those with the world.     Over our life we see the benefits of our natural talents and strengthens, when have you had time to ponder the gifts you received from the Holy Spirit?    The Catherine of Siena Institute provides an amazing workshop, Called & Gifted that allows you time to see how God has blessed you with gifts.  The benefit of discovering your spiritual gifts will allow you to do the following:

Deepen Your Faith

Positively Impact Your Career

Enrich Your Family Life

Support Life Transitions

Simply Life and Provide Clarity

Saint Mary of Gostyn in Downers Grove, IL will be hosting a Called & Gifted workshop on July 19.  9:00 – 4:00.   Registration is available at http://www.stmarygostyn.org.  Lite breakfast and lunch will be included for the day at no charge.     Join us and find out how you are Called and how you are Gifted.   You can also review the Catherine of Siena website for workshops closer to your home http://www.siena.org.    They do workshops internationally.

Feast of Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Today is the Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Saint for today is Saint Joan of Arc.

Visitation

From the Gospel of Luke we know that Mary traveled to Judah to spend time with Elizabeth, whom is also getting ready to bear a child.   We hear that when Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting the infant leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit, cried out in a loud voice and said, “Most blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb.”  My family made a New Years Resolution this year to focus on the Holy Family and we have been doing that in very small and simple ways.   This summer we are continuing that focus by spending time pondering short lines from sacred scripture.   Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.   How does it feel knowing we are also filled with the Holy Spirit?  We are all called as Christians to share the gift of the Holy Spirit with others.   Do you know the unique spiritual gifts that you have been given at baptism?

 

The Saint for today is Saint Joan of Arc, which I discovered on my favorite new app for my phone.   The OneParish app. reminded me that St. Joan of Arc is the patroness of soldiers and of France and she was also filled with the Holy Spirit.    As a young girl she entered into battle and defended her faith.   Did you know that each of us are called to be saints?   I know I have a great way to go on that journey and yet taking time to ponder the saints such as St. Elizabeth and St. Joan of Arc provide me an example to follow.

saint joan of arc

I hope you and your family can enjoy the summer months and some of my post from scripture and saints of the day.

Good Friday, The Interview With God and Pope John Paul Canonization Divine Mercy Novena

My 13 year-old daughter shared this short video with me today. The Interview with God is a nice reminder on Good Friday about the life we have been given and His endless love for us. Good Friday is also a good day to consider starting the Divine Mercy Novena, which is a 9 day prayer that leads up to Divine Mercy Sunday. This Divine Mercy Sunday is April 27 and is exceptional as Pope John Paul II will be canonized.

My experience has been that God provides great grace and healing over the next 9 days, through the devotion to the Divine Mercy chaplet. I hold someone who has passed away in the last 12 months close to my heart, along with anyone I know that needs special healing from physical illness or spiritual healing/conversion. Please consider reading more about Divine Mercy, the messages of Saint Faustina and her experience with the Lord via this link.

http://www.marian.org/divinemercy

This blog is based on the personal experiences and opinions of Peggy O’Flaherty. Any reproduction of the material in this blog may be used with written consent of the author by e-mail at peggy@creatingspaceinyourlife.com.

Recent writing projects include:

Spring Sports, Family Dinner and Faith

New App For your Phone Connect your Parish, Growing the Faith, One Parish

Extending Compassion, Losing a Child & Evangelization”

Holy Week Prayer Request, Ashley Woltman

Ashley

This is Ashley, she is 11 years old and is very, very sick, her illness is getting the better of her young body.   I posted about her a few weeks back and this family NEEDS your prayers.   We know God is holding them in the palm of his hand.  The family is asking for a miracle.   Yes a miracle for Ashley, plus it would be so nice if the entire family and all the Drs., nurses and caregivers can feel the presence of God in the care of Ashley.

The family would also appreciate anyone’s knowledge or any solution for her form of cancer, PDGFRB-EBF1 (this link explains)
http://www.stjude.org/stjude/v/index.jsp? vgnextoid=bfb0294bb2119310VgnVCM100000290115acRCRD&vgnextchannel=93bad99bc6abe210VgnVCM1000001e0215acRCRD

Ashley became sick on December 26 with a high fever that wouldn’t go away.  By December 31, she was in the emergency room with a diagnosis of the flu, strep throat, mono, and leukemia.

Ashley had cancer. Ashley was immediately transferred to the University of Chicago Comer’s Children’s Hospital to begin treatment.  On January 2, Ashley had a blood transfusion, bone marrow biopsy, spinal tap, and two doses of chemo.  She received daily chemo treatments for the next month.

By early February, another bone marrow biopsy revealed that the chemo was not killing any of the cancer cells in her bone marrow.  Further testing showed that Ashley had a rare form of Leukemia called PDGFRB-EBF1 that is resistant to standard chemo drugs.  There have only been a handful of children with this rare type of cancer.  One child survived this disease with a drug called Gleevec.  This treatment appears to have not worked.

In the last week her illness is at a peak and heightened prayer is CRITICAL.

https://www.giveforward.com/fundraiser/04z3/hope-for-ashley?utm_source=giveforward&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=supporter_email&hid=3893326&cid=3063405

Ashley Woltman

 

Thank you so very much,

Peggy