Honor your Mother and Father

Ephesians 6-2-3This past week, two dear friends each lost a parent. One lost a father and the other a mother. God is rejoicing in heaven with their presence, but we are mourning the loss of their presence. All the memories shared with friends and family brings me back to the loss of my own father. The heartbreak of that loss has never soften or been filled with something else, even when it has been 11 years he has been gone. Nothing can ever replace the emptiness our family feels. I know too well what my dear friends are going through – the pain that resides amid the joy of celebrating their life and legacy.

Everyday you miss their smile, their laugh or their voice. You want to grab the phone when good news comes your way so that you can call them. With each new spring bulb you remember the garden you planted with them. On your daily walk, you talk with them. There is only one thing that can comforted me. It is the only true thing that can comfort anyone.

Resting in the Lord’s promise in a life everlasting.
Knowing we will see each other again in the presence of Jesus.

Our Lord Jesus honored His parents. He listened to his mother, Mary, when He was not ready to perform a miracle. Mary must have known, small miracles had to have occurred when Jesus was a child because she speaks confidently when she tells him they are out of wine at the wedding.  Jesus says “what do you want me to do” but the word doesn’t show a response to his question. Mary turns to the steward and says “do what he says”. Parents know their children. They know what we are capable of, they encourage, support and believe in us through anything. Mary knew Jesus’ gifts better than anyone else. If I use Mary as my model of parenting, which I have always tried to do, I know I will remain in His Love.

As Catholics, we honor Mary during the month of May. Society honors Mothers during the month of May also. And in June we honor Fathers. Honoring our parents, as Jesus modeled for us, is important to do while they are alive and after they are gone too.

Friends, who lost a parent when they were very young, talk about all they missed. The long talks, the advice, the prideful look on their wedding day or graduation. Moments when we want to be surrounded by those we love. Moments that were stolen from them, but I trust in the Lord to provide them with opportunities to receive the love of a parent in many different forms too.

Jesus learned love, compassion and generosity from his parents and the home they created for him. We too are also products of our parents. I see my father in my siblings, nieces and nephews. I even see my father in my husband. He met my Dad when we were in high school and even though he had a wonderful father already, he would say he learned from my Dad too. The hard work of his hands while he builds out of lower level, creating more family space, or the generous nature when he does anything for our children. He often says, “your father helps us when we were young, I want to help them”. And my dad did – he lifted a sagging ceiling with my husband on our first house and was always there to fish with, talk with and to bounce things off of. Parents forever hold our hearts.

As we gather to honor these two beautiful, amazing parents, whom I was blessed to know, I pray the stories shared show their families the love of their parents and honor their memories. Memories that honor them will also embrace you on the days that are hard to bear without your parents.

“Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise “so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.” Ephesians 6:2-3 

Embrace God’s grace through the memories of your parents who have entered eternal life and those parents who you are able to embrace with love.

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Being Fed

Last month I attended the Religious Education Congress in Anaheim, CA. I know what you are thinking, “getting out of Chicago into the sunshine and relax” right…not for me. I absorbs as much from the conference as I possibly can. Workshop and events from 8:30 am to 3:30 pm, evening concerts and guest speakers, dinner and crash. But it is exhilarating.

I wish I could be in 10 places at once – each workshop time offers over 25 topics and I want to attend so many of them. This year I was blessed to hear Sherry Weddell, Bill Huebsch, Fr. Daniel Horan, Doug Tooke, ValLimar Jansen, Becky Eldredge, Doug Leal, Tony Alonso, Jeanne Cotter, Bishop Bob Barron, Steve Angrasino and Maria Shriver!

The weekend is an inspiration to my personal spiritual growth and to my ministry for Christ. Each year my love for the Eucharist deeps. The amazing gifts of community, unity, nourishment and overflowing love from Jesus was feel by those I met, which represent a universal church. Almost 40,000 ministers of the church attend this conference.

I bring back ideas to spark a flame within the youth, young adults and adults with whom I am blessed to minister to. My heartfelt prayers are for them to see Christ through my words, actions and relationships with them.

The theme of the conference was Rise Up!

My Rise Up truths…
Rise Up to accompany another on their journey
Rise Up to share the gifts God has blessed me with
Rise Up to center on Christ’s presence throughout my day
Rise Up to inspire others to their call of mission
Rise Up to give of myself in service
Rise up to be present
Rise Up to lay down my life for another
Rise Up to reach out in generosity

I am fed by God’s word and His love. I am fed by others who are Christ in my life and I am fed by amazing opportunities such as this conference.

Rise Up! Shine, for your light has come, the glory of the Lord has dawned upon you.
Though darkness covers the earth, and thick clouds, the peoples, Upon you the Lord will dawn, and over you his glory will be seen. Isaiah 60:1-2

Grace embraced through the light of others shining on my life. Help me, Jesus, to shine my light to others.

Perfectly us, four increases to five!

Today my family expands! ZachKarmen
Our son, Zachary is marrying Karmen!
The joy and love we feel is real…strong…and true.

As parents we have so many hopes, dreams, and desires for our children, yet ultimately the most important one is; we want them to be truly happy and live faith-filled lives. Both our children, Jaclyn and Zachary, have found joy in life with their careers and friends. Now to watch Zach and Karmen grow individually and as a couple these past two years, has been a true blessing for our family.

Our family of four is a typical close, in your business (sometimes), Italian family. We love passionately, care deeply and have been known to have arguments occasionally (infrequently now, but those teen years…Yikes!). We are far from perfect, but we are perfectly us.

I wonder if we our family was a shock to kind, calm, and quiet Karmen, who’s family life and culture is different. Which is true for each one of us comes from a unique and special family. Each of us bring with us a lot of family “stuff”, it makes us who we are. Melding their new lives together, I trust the Lord to  guide Zach and Karmen, to create their own ‘perfectly theirs’ family.

I knew Zachary’s heart was taken the first time I met Karmen. We met Zachary and Karmen at the Museum of Science and Industry the day after Thanksgiving 2013. Watching Zach talk with her, hold her hand, and treat her like the incredible woman she is…was it.

I love Zachary with her. He was comfortable, confident and loving…he was completely himself. I love who Zach is with Karmen, true to himself.

Then in June of 2014 in Venice, Italy on our family vacation Zach talked non-stop about why he loved her and how he missed seeing her. He was head over heels in love, I was no longer the most important woman in my baby’s heart and I was so happy to share his heart for this reason. Seeing how happy he was made this transition much less painful, because you see, he is my baby…the one I held when he was sick or hurting. Yet, now I see the man that the Lord created and am so grateful He allowed me to be part of Zach’s life.

So…
As they begin their marriage, I have to reflect on a life of marriage and the graces received (and lessons learned) through my 32 years and 2 children with my husband, Kevin. This will not be and cannot be a comprehensive guide to marriage, just my reflections as thoughts come to me.

Begin each day with a prayer of praise for all that you have been blessed with.
Put each other before yourself in life, honor and cherish every breath together.
Never lose yourself, be individuals who respect each other.
Always hold hands and snuggle all the time, especially during movies.
Share dinner together, even if it happens to be leftovers or cereal.
Take time to spend alone together.
Make birthdays and your anniversary special each year.
Listen more than you talk.
Forgive easily, especially when it is not easy.
Cheer each other in good times and cling to each other in storms.
Look for rainbows and stop to watch sunsets.
Make financial decisions together and never hide purchases from each other.
The mountains are calling you, spend time breathing in the clean, pure air of God’s beauty.
Stay close to family, they are your biggest supporters and loyal confidants.
Remember you are joined and entwined together as three cords, keeping God in the center will keep you strong.
Pray each night for each other and with each other.
Love always.

All good heart-felt advice from me is solid, I still giggle at my sister Toni’s great marriage advice of “always fight naked and no one will ever run out of the house.”

And know that all our family looking down upon us are smiling and guiding you…and know deep in your hearts that Kevin and I pray for you both and your union.

Welcome to this crazy, passionate, loving family Karmen…we love you!

#KarmenandZach
#ZachandKarmen
#marriage #love #happiness

Grace embraced through the young, pure love and happiness of this day as we welcome Karmen to our family through the Sacrament of Matrimony.
Love bears all things, hopes all things, endures all things, love never fails   1 Cor 13:7