I always wanted to be a Missionary. Now that I have four children at home, seven in Heaven, I realize that my Mission Field is my backyard and my family and I are a testimony to Life!! Here I recount my musings, my stories, thoughts, and adventures as a Mommy and as a Missionary helping to build the Culture of Life! Won't you join me?

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

In the Orbit of Mother

I'm under the weather today. Nothing serious, just a bad cold. Unfortunately I am still improving my immune system so a cold sort of really knocks me off my feet. While I know what I need to do to get over this nuisance of the nose, throat, and chest variety, whether or not I can do it seems to depend a lot on my children.

Inevitably, when I need rest, quiet and immobility, I am reminded that my children orbit around me.

Mothers are like the suns of their little domestic universes. Everything revolves around them. Husband, children, even pets, they all find harmony in a synchronous orbit around mother.

Yesterday I needed to put myself to bed and try to sleep this thing off. So when husband came home I finished making dinner and then tried to turn over the household to him and put myself in bed. Within ten minutes the first of my little orbiters came in to tell me absolutely nothing important. A few minutes later another skipped in to simply "see if I was asleep" and was relieved that I was not. Not long after that I was treated to another visit from my youngest. He thought that perhaps I needed to be entertained and snuggled so he moved into "close orbit" and splayed himself across my chest while talking nonstop about origami. Soon after this, my husband came in. He couldn't find something. I told him where it was. Then he came in again wondering how to store the left-overs. Then he decided to do the bills sitting next to me on the bed. At this point I gave up the idea of sleeping - which was good because next came the parade of children giving me origami tulips and cat faces.

I could have gotten mad. I was admittedly a bit frustrated. But I am mom. I am wife. I am, quite literally, the center of their universe.  This is something for which I am both eternally grateful and constantly terrified of messing up; but it is as it should be.

One day my children will be grown. It is happening too fast as it is with two of them on the cusp of the teenage years. They will outgrow this small domestic universe of ours. My boys will seek out their own lives. They will find a new "star" to become the center of their orbit. As they should.

My daughter will grow and learn and mature into a woman I hope will understand the important role she will play in a family of her own. A role no one else can fill. The role of wife. The role of mother.

This exhausting, beautiful, real, raw, self-emptying calling that makes you alike to the sun, and as full of love as the moon.

And I will one day be able to put myself to bed without interruption, without small feet running to check on me, and I will miss these times. I will miss their need to simply be near me. The security they feel in knowing mother is there. She is awake. She is watching. She is present. And they are in my orbit.

So I turn to Our Blessed Mother.
Mary, Star of the Sea. Mary, Morning Star.

We have a beautiful statue of Mary in our home right now. It is by far my favorite depiction of Mary. The statue belongs to my grandmother but she loans her out to our family members. Whenever she comes to visit I find myself doing the same thing that my children do. I place myself in her orbit. It is enough to be near. To be able to glance at her as I go about my day. To feel her presence and the security that comes with it.  I actually contemplated placing her on a table in my kitchen because that is where I spend so much of my day!

More than the presence of a statue though, there is a comfort and a peace that comes from being near Our Lady. She is Mother. The most perfect of Mothers. She offers us all the comfort, the protection, the encouragement, and the help we could possibly need; and she does this because she constantly directs us to THE Son. Her Son. I love the quote from St. Louis de Montfort, "If you put all the love of all the mothers of the world into one heart it still would not equal the love of the heart of Mary for her children."

She understands the unique sacrifices and the gift that is Motherhood. She can distribute to us the Graces we need to accept our role in our families, to be the "sun" in whose orbit our family finds peace. If we place ourselves near her, much as our children do with us, we will find all the help, all the perseverance, all the love we need to be mother.

Mother for mothers.

Monday, March 3, 2014


Photo Courtesy of this link

These last few months have been a season of "pruning."  I don't know why I continue to be amazed that whenever I try to really surrender, to really remove from myself everything that is not pleasing to or of God, that God does nothing less than swoop in and start pruning.  Like a master gardener finally given access to an over-grown garden and a pair of pruning shears, He takes to my soul and therefore the rest of my life, with gusto.  Its also amazing (though it shouldn't be) that even what could be seen as the smallest of things take on the greatest significance when being pruned by the Master. Equally amazing is how I seem to fail so miserably at just letting myself be molded. Letting myself be the overgrown shrub in need of attention. I suppose this is where humility comes in.  In a way this is also one of the many things God was teaching me. Its easy to want to be the rosebush. To want to be the prize of the garden show.  (Is the metaphor getting tiresome yet?)  But God isn't asking us to be those things. "Be perfect, just as our Heavenly Father is perfect" doesn't imply that we have already achieved perfection.  It implies that we have to strive for it.  Christ didn't come for the perfect people.  He came for you and me and the rest of sinful humanity.  That's why we need to be pruned.

With Lent upon us I can't help but be thankful for this unexpected but much needed season of refining.  It reminds me that Lent isn't about what we are giving up.  Its about making room for what we have to gain.  Lent is about de-cluttering ourselves so we have room for Christ to dwell within us more deeply, more fully, more freely.  Mortifications, sacrifices, they are supposed to be making room for Him.  This isn't a loss.  This is an immeasurable gain.  "For my yoke is easy and my burden light."  These words are ever true, even if they present a paradox.  Have you ever felt this lightness? This easy yoke?  Anyone even tacitly striving for holiness knows that following Our Lord is not easy.  Yet, when He asks us to do the seemingly impossible and we Trust Him enough to follow, the resulting lightness of spirit, the interior joy that follows is without words. The absolute peace that dwells within - peace that cannot be shaken by external storms or events.  It is not Christ who piles on the heavy burdens. We do that to ourselves when we do not make enough room for Christ to carry those burdens with us.
Imagine a long wooden beam across your shoulders.  You are carrying it - heavy, weighed down.  Next to you on either side are all the things you are attached to, all the things that clutter up your life: unhealthy relationships, mass media, love of money, greed, vanity, gossip, idleness, pride, laziness, a desire to have "things" you don't really need, compulsions, tendencies towards uncharitable words or thoughts...the list goes on.  You're surrounded!  Now, what if you were to start to remove some of these walking companions?  What if you were to purge from your life unhealthy relationships? Vain attachments? Laziness?  As these things begin to fall away from you, you suddenly have more room next to you.  Who do you think steps in to help carry your load?  The Master.

But you are still dragging along with you some of those clinging attachments, some of those disordered tendencies.  Christ can only carry the edge of the beam and it still feels a bit heavy.  What to do?  Yes, detach yourself some more.  The more you are able to detach yourself from the things of this world the more room you make for Christ to come in and take your burden, until you and He are so close that you can't even feel the weight of the beam anymore.  The beam is still there, but you are no longer carrying the weight of it; because you have made room for The Master.

This is what Lent does for us.  It is what seasons of pruning do for us.  It is what we are called to over and over again.  Living a life fixed on Heaven is living a life of perseverance. We must constantly allow ourselves to be worked on, to be pruned.  Constantly checking those "walking companions" and making sure we make room for the Only Companion that matters.

I leave you with these musings on the eve of Shrove Tuesday as we all prepare for a season of expectant sacrifice.  I pray that you will enter this Lent with the thought of what it is you are about to gain, and not what you are about lose.

And as an aside, thank you for reading.  Writing helps me to make sense of things. It helps me to process and to articulate what my heart is trying to tell my head.  It humbles me that others would want to read these bumbling attempts of mine to articulate the awesomeness of the love of our God and the privilege that it is to serve Him.


Sunday, February 9, 2014

Prayer for Invisibility

Sometimes I am so struck by the reality of my own nothingness I feel ashamed to have thought that I was ever anything more. Dear Lord, give me the Grace of Invisibility and may all Glory go to Him who is All that Is.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Pope Francis is Not Marxist: A Response to Response to Rush

I don't often post links here, however, I wrote about Rush Limbaugh accusing Pope Francis of being a Marxist on my other blog, so I wanted to give you fine readers and followers the chance to read it.

So here is the link to "A Response to Rush Limbaugh."  Or, in other words, "Why Pope Francis is NOT a Marxist.


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Home Sweet Home

I would like to tell you a story.  Its a true story.  About our home.  Now this may sound boring to you, however if you have read any of the other stories on this blog you'd know that our lives are anything BUT boring.

Five years ago my husband was being honorably discharged from the Marine Corps after serving two enlistments (that's 8 years for you civilians out there).  We were living on a military base at the time, and of course had to move as you don't get to live on a base or post as an enlisted (ahem, not officer) service-member unless you are active duty.  The trouble was we had no idea when or where we would  move.  We new God was telling us our time as a military family was up, but He was keeping us in the dark about the rest!

We eventually discerned that we were to move to the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.  Through a series of what some would call random, but what we knew to be Providential events my husband became the Executive Director of a non-profit that had stalled and was charged with resurrecting it.  This at least provided us with some sort of income potential (though it wasn't enough to really live off of).  We knew that we were eligible for benefits from the Veterans Association upon discharge so we were planning to use that as rent to get us on our civilian feet.

As the days wound down and "moving day" approached, we STILL had no house to move to!  We were praying, trusting, and feeling a bit like Shadrach, Mishaq, and Abednego in the fiery furnace!  Finally the day before we were to move out (we had the boxes packed and the u-Haul ready!) we took a last-ditch, Hail Mary trip to the area the non-profit was to be located.  We were shown a few dirty, broken down apartments that we knew we could not raise 4 children in (I was pregnant with our fourth at the time).  We walked back to our car confounded.  What were we to do!?

My husband sat behind the wheel and prayed aloud to St. Joseph. He asked God to show us.  Right in front of us was a Realtor's Office.  We looked at each other.  Why not!?

We entered the office and my husband explained the situation to a wonderful Realtor while I entertained our bored but very patient children.  The next thing I knew we were being shown 3 different homes - a single family home with a yard, a townhome, and an apartment.  All were just in our rental budget, all were move-in ready, and they were in the perfect location.  My husband and I discussed it.  We told the realtor that the single family home with a fenced in yard was perfect.  He contacted the landlords.  We sat in his office for a few hours while the details were worked out.  We faxed over an application, made phone calls and wrote a letter explaining how we would be able to pay rent every month.  The lovely realtor told us he would call us as soon as he heard from them.

We began the 2 hour drive back to the base.  Praying and trusting.  At 10pm the Realtor called. He said the landlords had agreed and would meet us at the house the next day to finalize paper work and give us the keys! We had a home!

We moved in the next day! God came through - and in truly Divine fashion, He showed off a bit - giving me some very obvious signal graces that led me to not doubt for a moment that He had orchestrated everything.

That was five years ago.

Now, we are still living in the same house, except we OWN it! No less than another miracle, I assure you. Our former landlords said initially that they weren't interested in selling. Well, after 5 years, their minds changed!  The offered to sell us the house for an INSANELY low amount!  Well below market value. We were told we had to either buy it or move as they are trying to streamline their lives a bit and didn't want to be landlords anymore. We had no idea how we would be able to buy a house!  We had declared bankruptcy 4 years earlier when the NonProfit that hired my husband cut costs by letting him go, and then the economy crashed around us. Yet, we stepped out in faith and, not knowing anything about buying a home, with my credit in the gutter (almost dying is VERY expensive - I am still paying medical bills!) we kept trusting and putting one foot in front of the other.

For reasons beyond understanding, we were approved again and again. Inspections, applications, loan officers, etc.  Every time we got through another approval my husband and I would look at each other confounded.  We closed on the house in July.  It is ours.  We never intended to be homeowners at this moment in time, but God had other plans.

In fact His plans have now placed us in a situation that we could have NEVER imagined.  As more and more people are going on public assistance, as more and more cant find work, as ObamaCare is destroying income, we are stable, we are somehow isolated from it. As if we are in a bubble of protection that is sheltering us.  We got OFF public assistance, we, for the first time ever, have enough to live off of, we are finally able to pay the long over due medical bills that I accrued after all our losses.  My husband is moving up in his job into management.  His company has done so well even during the horrid economic slide that it isn't changing insurance policies! None of this is our doing, none of it we could have foreseen.  It is simply a result of following along one step at a time, the path that God placed before us.

If I had to guess, I would say that Mary is quietly behind it all.  Protecting her children.  Mary has more and more (especially since after Lolek's death) been calling us to trust her motherhood.  When I was little I remember reading messages that she gave to different people - Fr. Gobi, Garabandal, Fatima.  One thing stood out.  She said those consecrated to her, those who place themselves beneath her mantle of Motherly protection, will be taken care of.  She will watch over and protect them.  As I write this post I cant help but remember that promise.  I see firsthand how she has kept it. I see how abandonment to God and trust in His Mother's intercession has kept us from experiencing so much.  Sure, we've had our sufferings, and yes, out share of pain and loss.  But those losses, those sufferings those crosses, they all had a purpose. Drawing us to deeper trust, to deeper conversion, to a deeper faith so that we may more boldly walk forward amidst all that is going on around us, confident in the Love that Our Father has for us and in His Mercy and Providence.

I don't know what the future holds. I have stopped trying to figure that out. I do know, that right now, I sit here in my slightly messy, "just the right size for us" house and I am confident that whatever it holds God will be in control and we will continue to Trust Him and hold His Mother's Hand as she leads us ever closer to Him.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Sarah Therese

As any of you who have read this blog before probably know, I make many more re-birth announcements than I ever thought I would. 

Way back when I started this blog I thought I would chronicle fun and moving stories of how we were growing our family.  I never imagined it would turn out so differently, or that we would be growing our family - in Heaven.  Yet, here I am again, wanting to relate the blessed and sad, the death and Heavenly life of another precious little one who has gone Home to wait for us In Eternity. 

I realize that many of you didn't even know I was expecting again as we kept it quiet and were only just starting to tell people.   

It was another traumatic experience however I have so much peace. I want to, in a special way, thank St. Philomena for her intercession and I know she was close by me during this time. 

On Monday, June 10, 2013,  I started to think things weren't right with the baby (though I had a nagging intuition for a while before that). I went to the ER after experiencing some troubling cramps and asked my husband to prepare the kids just in case.  At the ER it was confirmed that there was no heartbeat or movement and that the baby had not developed much beyond 10 weeks.  ( I was technically 12 weeks on Monday).  I explained the situation to the ER doc and my past history.  He was the SAME ONE who gave me such a hard time when we lost Claire.  I prayed for him.  He was much mellower this time and didn't make any comments that were hurtful.  Thank you, God. 

The whole time I kept praying "I trust You.  I Trust You." and I asked Jesus to allow me to surrender to suffering that He may send.  St Philomena's intercession was very evident as she made it clear several weeks ago that she would like to be a special player in my family's journey towards Holiness.  (I have had  a devotion to her since I was in High School).  Unfortunately the doctors figured they knew better than I did so they sent me home.  I knew from past experience I had at least 12 hours before things would get more dicey so I went home at 1am.  The next morning I was up by 6am and calling my OB.  He had off that day and I was instructed by the staff to wait until Wednesday morning for a D & C.  I calmly explained that I had no reason to believe my body would wait that long.  (And honestly, a D & C, while safer for my condition, is not ideal as I prefer to baptize and anoint my children.)  I was told by an irate nurse to "just go back to the ER then."   I abandoned the situation to God, praying over and over "Jesus I surrender to You completely, take care of everything"   and I headed back to the ER.  My dear friend, you know her as "Doula-Bestie-Extraordinaire", who was with me for all the trauma with Lolek's loss (she was literally measuring cups of blood as I hemorrhaged) met me at the ER. By now I felt as though I was in early labor in earnest. 

Thankfully after about 2 hours in the waiting room a Tech-Assistant whom I had befriended last time I was in the ER (a few weeks ago for a suspected DVT - it was not! ) recognized me.  He came out to see why  I was there.  I explained the situation.  He disappeared and 5 minutes later returned with a wheelchair. "You shouldn't be out here" he said and he told me he found me a room with the "really good doctor who listens."  What a blessing!!!  He was right too.  She (the doctor) is the first who has EVER listened and grasped my situation.  After explaining everything to her she responded by saying, "There is no way I can send you home."  I was so relieved I thanked her for understanding and for listening to me and burst into tears. 

She arranged with the OB on call to find me a room for observation to stay in until the scheduled surgery, should I somehow make it that long.  I waited for 13 hours (DBE and I managed to find creative ways to entertain ourselves!)  in the ER before a room on the pre-surgical unit was secured.  They gave me morphine which slowed the progression of labor.  I was of course not allowed to eat but I snuck some water.  At 9pm I was moved to the pre-surgical unit for "observation."  I explained to the nurse what to expect and let her know that I was progressing more rapidly and doubted I'd make it to the morning.  She looked slightly concerned as she wasn't an L & D nurse and had limited mother/baby experience.  By 1am I was extremely uncomfortable.  I decided worrying was useless and once again abandoned the situation to God.  I was prepared to deliver my baby, I had all my baptismal supplies and a small box for her body.  But if God so chose, I was ready for the D & C and would be at peace with it.  I Trusted His Providence.  I was able to sleep for half an hour.  Then my water broke and I knew what was to come. 

I will spare you the gory details.  Lets just say, I delivered Sarah's tiny perfect body.  Baptized and anointed her.  Kissed her and held her.  Then carefully, Doula-Bestie placed her in the little box.  Being the amazing Doula and friend that she is, she had spent the night with me. She donned gloves and prepared for the worst, which very shortly followed.  I talked the shell shocked nurse through what to do. (how many chux pads to get, what to expect, how I needed to be upright, that I would need a bag of fluid to help my BP and heart rate as I was already mildly tachycardic...   I hemorrhaged badly, as I expected.  I of course retained the placenta.  After a very short amount of time the nurse and the tech realized  I wasn't exaggerating about what I told them to expect and how bad it would get quickly.  They had to call the OB on call 3 times before they convinced him I didn't need to be "observed" and that I would in fact bleed to death unless he came in for an emergency D & C.  So after an hour I was finally brought down to the OR for the procedure. 

I am glad to say I retained my sense of humor through it all, and managed to make the nervous nurse and
tech laugh.  The nurse thanked me for "teaching her so much" and explained that she had no experience with "mother-baby" emergencies as she mostly dealt with patients who were there for bariatric surgery or occasionally a heart procedure.  Rarely did she get "real emergencies" like me.  I of course mashed on my uterus the entire time, knowing it would at least help with the clotting and hemorrhaging, and remembering that it also helps me to not pass out.  I am infinitely thankful for "DBE" who was helping with everything and helped to explain to the nurses what my situation was - as she witnessed it all first hand and close up the last time.  (But this time she could at least wear gloves and didn't have to call 9-1-1, I was already in the hospital!)

Eventually I was prepped and the anesthesiologist satisfied.  The OB showed up, I explained I had retained the placenta and would continue to hemorrhage.  I reminded them that I could not have Pitocin as it increased blood clot risk and asked to be given lovenox or heparin immediately following the surgery to prevent another PE.  They agreed. 

What happened next was quite a remarkable and blessed experience for me.  

All day I had been praying the Stations of the cross.  I love them.  I was wheeled into the OR but not put under immediately.  Instead, for some reason they prepped me while I was awake.  I was laid on the operating table, my arms were stretched out to either side and strapped down. I was strapped to the table.  My legs were stretched out in front of me.  I was unable to mash my uterus and felt myself bleeding even more uncontrollably.  I was in so much physical pain.  And then they removed my gown to put on all the monitors.  I lay there, in the shape of a cross, bleeding, naked, and in pain.  I was so moved all I could pray was "Thank you."  Finally they brought the anesthesia over and I was put to sleep.  Is it possible to be facing ones mortality (yet again!) and yet feel privileged?  Because in that moment, as crazy as it sounds, that is what I felt. 

When it was all over I was given my lovenox, it was confirmed I had retained the placenta.  I was eventually brought back  upstairs.  I slept a little and woke up to call the Funeral Home. I was able to sleep holding Sarah's box.  I made sure to keep her body moist.  The wonderful Funeral director came to take her body and I spoke with him for a while.  He has managed all our babies' burial services and is so kind and compassionate.  I cried healthy, sad tears of finality as I handed her to him and he and his wife left my room.  

I am now home recovering.  I am more sore and in more pain now, as I am experiencing the effects of the surgery -  they seem to have positioned my legs badly and I have torn and pulled muscled in my thighs and bruises on my arms where they strapped me too tight.  I have shortness of breathe upon walking even a few steps, and dizziness which will wane as I build back my blood supply.  After having not eaten for 36 hours I am gaining my appetite back.  I am very pleased to say it has been 48 hours post hemorrhage and I have not thrown a clot.  I thank God and St Philomena for her intercession!

I  feel as though I should be falling apart.  But I am not.  I recognize that I miss my baby and have moments of healthy grief over my loss.  But early on in the pregnancy it occurred to me that I should not pray for her to be allowed to be born full term and alive, especially if that is not what God had planned for her.  Who am I to deny any of my children Heaven?! So instead I prayed that God's Will be accomplished and that I be given the Grace to accept it, whatever it would be.  I believe He answered those prayers tenfold. 

I can see His Hand at work in all the circumstances surrounding Sarah's delivery and death, and in the way I was allowed to suffer, without the fear I thought I would face.  

I am human, and find myself battling fear of another Pulmonary Embolism every so often, and dealing with some hormone-induced anxiety whenever I get short of breathe, but that is nothing compared to what I think many people expect me to me experiencing.  (and after my PE I have found that a level of anxiety associated with symptoms and past experiences is normal.  So I can recognize it for what it is and move on).

I can only attribute it to God's goodness and His Mercy and to St Philomena's help and I praise God for His goodness. 

Some links you may find of interest after reading this story: 

Friday, May 3, 2013

Some Thoughts About Mary

"May is the month of our mothers."  I remember reading this when I was in First Grade, right before our First Friday Mass for the month of May began.  I had been practicing for weeks.  I was the student who was chosen to read the before-Mass meditation.  Every year it was the same, "May is the Month of our Mothers."   Every May this same sentence runs through my head.  So I figure its an appropriate time to write a bit about Mary.

I've had two rather profound (if I do say so myself) thoughts about the Blessed Mother that I shall share for your own discernment and prayer.

Mary, until lately has been difficult for me to relate to.  Until my rather dramatic experience when she truly became my Heavenly Mother I honestly didn't even much try to understand her.  It was losing Claire and then losing Lolek that really brought me into a much deeper relationship with her, and has given me a much greater understanding of her.  I was pondering Mary once again as I was praying last night.  I was recalling how whenever I am pregnant (which if you read this blog you know is actually quite often!) I start to feel distant from Mary.  I began to prayerfully explore this.  Then it was as if a veil was lifted and I was given such a profound understanding - one I had never had before!  I realized that pregnancy always made me feel distant from Mary because, according to St Bridget and to theologians, Mary did not experience your "typical" pregnancy.  Being free from original sin, she therefore did not experience the physical effects of it - such as the pain in childbearing etc.  In fact according to the Revelations of St. Bridget, Mary was basically in prayerful ecstasy when she delivered the Christ-Child.  This is NOT my experience of childbirth!  But Mary DID experience something far more profound.  In my prayer I saw Mary at the cross.  She was in pain. She was uniting her will to God's but she was in profound pain, "And a sword shall pierce your heart."  She was at the foot of the Cross looking up at Her Son.  She had just walked the Way of the Cross with Him and now she was surrendering Him to the Father.  "My child, I have labored and I have given birth to my Son who is now to enter Eternity." She said from the foot of the cross.  Of course!! Mary's life was one long "labor."

Often I have thought how labor and delivery so closely mirror the Paschal Mystery - the suffering, the dying to self, and the birth of a New Life.  Mary's whole life was the Paschal Mystery.  The Word became Flesh within her womb and she delivered the Savior.  She was told at the Temple that a "Sword would pierce her heart" and she carried with her for Jesus' whole life the knowledge that she wold suffer as she watched and loved her Son as He Redeemed the world.  Mary's whole life was about giving birth to our Salvation - not just at Christmas, but at the Cross.  What a profound insight! What a gift!  How incredibly small and insignificant my labors seem in comparison now.  What is a few hours compared to 33 years!?  I am in awe of our Lady.  I am humbled by this new understanding.

This new understanding and deeper regard for Our Lady came on the heels of yet another revelation about our Blessed Mother.

I have been earnestly walking down the prayerful road of Contemplative Prayer.  I have been reading St. John of the Cross and St. Theresa of Avila, and a book by Fr.  Dubay on Contemplative prayer.  It has been amazing and beautiful.  But I was stumped when it came to Mary.  Neither St. John nor St. Theresa really mentioned her.  Yet, Pope John Paul II, who is considered a great modern contemplative had a deep devotion to her, so I knew she had to fit in somewhere.  But how?

So I brought it my Spiritual Papa, Bl. John Paul II, and asked for his wisdom.  "Mary is the exemplary contemplative."  Umm..OK... but how?  "The indwelling of the Trinity was not only Spiritual for her, but physical."  Of course!  **Lightbulb**  That makes sense! Why didn't I think of that!?

Contemplative prayer is all about the union of the soul with the indwelling Trinity, a unity so profound it is as if there is a flow - a conduit open between the two.  It is a connection at once to Heaven, where the soul exists both within the person and yet in Heavenly reality, united with God.  Mary experienced this in the most physically profound way possible. Not only her soul, but her whole being was connected to the Godhead as Christ was growing within her.  Mary needed only to contemplate the baby she carried - as every mother does - and as she did she was at once united with Heaven in a deep and mysterious way.

This was a beautiful new understanding for me to ponder. It also gives me a different way in which to enter into contemplation.  How much practice my babies have given me already! Any mother can tell you that as soon as you see those pink or blue lines on the stick your very reality is changed forever.  You are constantly aware of a person inside you, that your body is not the same, and that you are not alone.  How similar this is to contemplative prayer - to being united with God even as you go about every day life.

 How thankful I am to Our Lady for allowing me to better understand her, and how grateful I am to Papa John Paul II for patiently teaching me about our Heavenly Mother.

I hope that maybe these small, humble insights will bring you closer to our Heavenly Family as well.