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Pocket Saints

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I have a collection of pocket Saints. My pocket Saints are my go to group of "friends" that I call upon when needing some additional assistance in one way or another. Just as we have family/friends on earth that we call upon when we need assistance, I have collected a heavenly variety. I ask them to pray with me and intercede on my behalf to "get something done." I currently have a collection of twenty. They are, in no particular order, but for very particular reasons: St. Jude, St. Anthony, St. Dominic, St. Joseph, St. Gemma, St. Gianna, St. Marie Almondi, St. Cecelia, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, St. Terese of Calcutta, St. Pope John Paul II, St. Therese of Lisieux, St. Katherine Drexel, St. Monica, Our Lady of Fatima, Our Lady of Guadalupe, Our Lady of Lourdes, Our Lady of Medjugorie, Mary Mother of God and All the Holy Men and Women. It is like saying a litany every time I lay them out like that. The newest addition is St. Monica.

I added St. Monica to my list of pocket Saints about a year ago. As a parent, my biggest fear is that my children, two daughters, would grow away from Christ. With my children now attending college, one is a junior at St. Norbert and the other a freshman at University of
Minnesota in the Twin Cities, I had to resign myself to the fact that I have done all I could to help them put on the armor of God, and it was now up to them to wear it. Faithfully. While I trust in God's providence in all things, I am only human. I want to control what happens to my children. I realized a little over a year ago that this is yet one more thing that I can't control. Therefore, I called upon all of my pocket Saints and solicited the help of St. Monica to surround my children with an extra layer of support to steer them in the right direction - straight to the heart of Jesus! St. Monica is the patient mother of the most notorious bad boy, St. Augustine. If her prayer power can turn the course for him, she certainly can keep my girls on track. The best tool I have now is my prayers. The hands-on work is complete.

Through the Narrow Gate

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Since God revealed himself to Abraham in the Old Testament, all that was ever asked of believers was to have a relationship with Him. This entailed talking to God through prayer and following directions known as commandments. In return, God bestowed all forms of blessings upon them, including children. Children that were to be formed to believe in God as well. Throughout the Old Testament, believers in the one true God struggled but never fully lost faith. By the time history reached the New Testament,
God's people needed a reboot. They had all but lost faith when Jesus arrived on earth to reinvigorate our relationship with God.

In teaching us, suffering for us, dying for us, and rising from the dead for us, Jesus defines the love God has for us and models for us the love we are required to have for God. It is this love, through a relationship with God, that can get us through the narrow gate named in the Gospel.

I don't know about you but I don't want to be left outside the gate. I don't want my loved ones left outside. I don't want anyone left outside. In my mind, to be left outside means that a lifetime was wasted in getting to know Jesus. Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. In knowing Him, having a relationship with Him through the Mass and the sacraments and engaging with others in a manner that will assist all of us in getting to Heaven, I hope to pass through the narrow gate. No one should be left outside if we do our very best to lift each other up.

Our Father

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Without a doubt, the “Our Father” is the most universally recognized Christian prayer, uniting believers throughout the world.  It’s a prayer that many of us learned as children and has become so routine, that we might rattle off the words without giving a second thought to their meaning or what we are asking of God.

As I reflect on the words of the Lord’s Prayer, I was struck by three distinct phrases that inspire and challenge me.

First, “Our Father…” We address God in a most personal way. God is our father and we are his children, no different than the loving, caring, relationships we hold dear with our children and families.

“Thy will be done…” In a world that promotes self-centeredness and that it’s all about me…we state in the Lord’s Prayer that it’s not about my wants, but God’s will which is to be done.

The third phrase, and most significant: “Forgive us, as we forgive…” How do we want God to treat us?  By forgiving us in the manner that we forgive others.  How we act towards others, is how we are asking God to treat us!

C. S. Lewis wrote: “To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable, because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.” We are offered forgiveness on no other terms. To refuse it means to refuse God’s mercy for ourselves.

The next time you pray the most common of Christian prayers, “The Lord’s Prayer,” reflect on what the words truly mean and what you are asking of God, “Our Father.” I guarantee your prayer will take on a whole new meaning and become anything but common.

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