Sowing Seeds of Truth

Happy Sunday My Friends,

Another beautiful sunny Sunday in Syracuse! Hope you get outdoors to enjoy. Our home continues to be very busy. We are home to 8 moms 12 children, most of them toddlers, and have three little ones on the way. You might think it would be chaotic, however we are well staffed with volunteers, (we can always use a few more) and staff to take care of all these little rascals during the day while moms are busy at work, in school and in learning programs. All of our moms are out and about during the day extending their education and embracing opportunities that give them hope for an improved future caring for themselves and their children.

Some of our children greeting visitors at our daycare entrance.

Some of our children greeting visitors at our daycare entrance.

This past week our Life Skills program enjoyed a first! One of our former residents returned to present to our current moms all she has learned through her Joseph House experience, and speak about what living independently with multiple children has taught her. She spoke of everything from finances and saving money, to how to successfully extricate one’s self and stay away from abusive relationships. Our moms were transfixed by this success story and given much hope they may soon be living the same successful life as this Exodus mom. There is not anything more rewarding than witnessing our moms learning from peers who once resided in the same rooms they now occupy.  As you can imagine, this experience is quite a milestone in our Joseph’s House history. Our hope for the future includes many more alumni returning to share their stories in our life skills program, and perhaps one day, even as members of our staff! As everyone at Joseph’s House is well aware, All things are possible with God!

Speaking of Life Skills once again we were taken aback by the wisdom being infused into the minds of these young women through our home. I mentioned a week or two ago our moms’ interest being piqued by the Rosary, Our Blessed Mother, Her apparitions and stories of the Saints. St. Louis de Monforte, St. Maximillian Kobe, St. John Paul II, and St. Theresa of Calcutta, all have written the shortest way to Jesus, is through Mary, so the notion that Mary would lasso in these young women is not surprising. Simply put, as mentioned many times before, Mary, The Good Mother will always deposit us, Her Children, at the feet of Jesus. To see the wisdom of these most glorious saints unfold first-hand in our chapel is a gift beyond measure. This recurring gift presents itself each week as our moms begin to ask questions of leaders and staff, only to have them answered beautifully by their very own peers. Their heartfelt responses come with a light in their eyes and a radiance to their faces that only presents itself when the soul is being infused with truth, with hope and with love. We hear in their answers they have learned God will always give them what they need, sometimes even more than they need, though He may not give them what they want, simply because what they want is not what is best for them and He has something better in mind!

The hearts, minds and souls of these young moms and their children are the fertile soil where seeds are being planted for their future and the future of all those their lives may touch. Joseph’s House is there for them to teach them now and forever, if they should want or need us that long. We are family, always there with a soft shoulder and warm heart. Our expectations are high, but high expectations teach these moms how very capable they are and give them a blue print for raising their own most capable children in the future. 

The chaos in today’s world, in our country, in families and in the homes of many is the result of the restless hearts of people seeking truth. At Joseph’s House seeds of truth are being planted in the freshly tilled soil of hearts, minds and souls of young women. Young women born in the chaos, once without hope, once filled with despair, who now light up at the mention of  the Name of Jesus. Our prayer for our home, for all families, our country and our world is the truth learned in our home founded in God, will be passed far and wide, from generation to generation, so all will feel the tug of Jesus in their hearts, hear the voice of Jesus when He calls, and one day soon will all light up at the mention of His Most Holy Name, Jesus. 

God Bless you my friends and thank you for assisting in planting the seeds that continue to change lives two generations at a time!

Love & Prayers,

Kitty

Here I am Lord

Happy Sunday Everyone!

What a glorious day! I know it’s cold but the sun, the pure white snow, the crunch of footsteps, and the  crisp, clean air that clears our heads and fogs up our glasses, are on my list of favorite things. On top of all of that, special birthday gifts appeared in each reading gifted today from the Liturgy of the Hours, in Morning Prayer and in inspirational quotes received from saints in my inbox. Then there was today’s responsorial psalm “Here I am Lord, I come to do your will.” Psalm 40:2,4,7-8,8-9,10

As if all of those blessings were not enough, there was the first reading today from Samuel, one of my favorites, 1 Samuel 3:3-10,19.  Samuel knew he was being called in the middle of the night, he just didn’t know who was calling until Eli clued him in. As Father Dunn said earlier in the week when this reading appeared, “Eli, a man of God, was slipping a little if it took 3 interruptions before he understood who was calling Samuel.” Sounds as if Eli gives us all a little hope!

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How long did it take you to hear the call? How did you hear it? Did Our Lord call you in the night as He did Samuel?  God was calling me my whole life, however since I am rather dense, obstinate and did not have an Eli in my life, I never heard Him until the gut-wrenching 2 AM phone call saying “There has been an accident.”

Five years ago today, Maria, Barry, Leah and I were on the road going to Spring Valley, New York to check out Good Counsel Homes. We were traveling to see if the idea of Joseph’s House was possible. I can remember thinking how unbelievable it was the 2 AM wake-up call received in 2004 had resulted in meeting these most special people 9 years later. I can remember thinking tragedy had resulted in blessings, and prayers were being answered through a promise made to God at the very lowest point of my life. I remember wondering, “Why are you so good to me Lord?”  “What is your plan my Lord?”  and “Thank you dear Lord for answering my prayers by sending these magnificent people into my life.” And the big question, “Do you really want a Joseph’s House, Lord?”

My prayer each morning and evening since the 2 AM  phone call in 2004 has been, “Here I am Lord, I come to do your will.”

I will leave you with the words from one of my favorite hymns named Here I am Lord. I promise you, better yet Our Lord promises you, if you give your free will back to God, surrender yourself to Him completely, give Him total responsibility for every aspect of your life, the joy, even through struggles and tears, will be nearly unbearable to contain and you will be singing this refrain to yourself HOPING HE WILLS to awaken you from sleep each and every night.

God Bless you my friends!

Love and Prayers,

Kitty

I, the Lord of sea and sky
I have heard my people cry
All who dwell in dark and sin
My hand will save.

I who made the stars and night
I will make the darkness bright
Who will bear my light to them
Whom shall I send?

Here I am Lord
Is it I Lord?
I have heard you calling in the night
I will go Lord
If you lead me
I will hold your people in my heart.

I the Lord of snow and rain
I have borne my people’s pain
I have wept for love of them
They turn away.

I will break their hearts of stone
Fill their hearts with love alone
I will speak my word to them
Whom shall I send?

Here I am Lord
Is it I Lord?
I have heard you calling in the night
I will go Lord
If you lead me
I will hold your people in my heart.

The Faith of the Magi

Happy Sunday My Friends and Feast Of The Epiphany!

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This is one of my favorite feast days. I am simply fascinated by the Magi, these three kings from the Far East who traveled to visit the newborn Jesus by following the Star of Bethlehem.  These men were kings who left their kingdoms and traveled, some say for at least nine months, others say for up to two years, because they understood something unprecedented was to occur. They came bearing gifts for a newborn king they understood was greater than themselves. They were Gentiles, pagans, astronomers, uneducated in the ways of the Old Testament, and yet they knew to follow The Star. Could it be they were searching for what was missing in their lives? Was there a void their power, riches, & vast empires could not fill?  How were they able to leave their homes, families, kingdoms to go on a journey following a star? Did they go even those others close to them believed they were a little nuts? Perhaps they were simply fascinated with the story they saw unfolding in the heavens. The heavens created by Almighty God.

And it was so. God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars. God set them in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth, to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good.
— Genesis 1;16-18

Like the Samaritan woman at the well and the Roman soldier who came to Jesus to ask healing for his daughter, these three Kings although they were not of Jewish heritage, were given the grace of faith. They were given an inkling in their hearts and souls that made them open to encountering the truth. The inkling grew and became a light, a light to follow and to guide them, a light changing the history of the world as it shone over the manger where the Truth was born, Christ the King. These three foreign kings and the humble shepherds tending sheep near Bethlehem were the chosen to be infused with knowledge, understanding and wisdom through the voices of angels and the light of a star. A knowledge, understanding and wisdom highly educated Jewish Sadducee, Pharisees and philosophers awaiting the Messiah, were not given.

It is quite apparent Our Lord uses people who are unworthy, uneducated, wide-eyed, naive innocents to do miraculous works.  One simply needs to be seeking truth. The Magi were seeking. They were, with all their wealth and power, wide eyed innocents looking for someone and something greater than themselves. Searching for the answer to what seemed to be missing in their lives by following the light in the sky that was the Star of Bethlehem. There are many lights one can follow leading one to Jesus. It may be the light in the eye of a friend or it may be a light turning on in our minds when we hear the truth spoken for the first time. The light may be made apparent through the Word of God heard at mass or read at home. The light may appear in the compassionate smile of someone we don’t know and yet somehow know cares. The light may even be made apparent when we hear a lie spoken against truth, the truth we somehow inherently know is Jesus Christ Our Lord.

On this day, I give thanks once again for the Magi, for their faith in following the star that led them to The Holy Family. For the wisdom given to them in not reporting back to Herod as instructed. I thank God for their courage in traveling the distance, the long distance by following the most magnificent light given to them, The Star of Bethlehem. The light which led them to behold the majesty of the babe in the manger, the majesty of the Holy Family, the majesty of Christ the King.

The light in your life may not be as bright as the Bethlehem Star, but it has the power to transform the lives of all those you encounter however it may shine through you. Never be afraid, always step out in faith and become a saint for our Lord as did Gaspar, Balthasar, and Melchior, the three Kings who adored Christ. For a fascinating documentary proving the existence of the Star of Bethlehem scientifically as well as scripturally, see the video below.

God Bless you my friends,

Love & Prayers,

Kitty

Feast of the Holy Innocents

This lovely wreath was a gift from the daycare staff at Joseph's House. The green felt wreath is constructed from the hand prints of the children born and saved through the mission of Joseph's House. These hand prints not only represent the children now with us but also represent the more than 80 children who are part of our extended family, more than half of them born here, calling Joseph's House their first home. Joseph's House is truly a haven for the Innocent Children of God

This lovely wreath was a gift from the daycare staff at Joseph's House. The green felt wreath is constructed from the hand prints of the children born and saved through the mission of Joseph's House. These hand prints not only represent the children now with us but also represent the more than 80 children who are part of our extended family, more than half of them born here, calling Joseph's House their first home. Joseph's House is truly a haven for the Innocent Children of God

As many of you know, the 12 days between Christmas and the Epiphany (January 8th) are part of our Christmas season. When the secular world thinks Christmas is over, in our Christian world it is just beginning as we celebrate the very early days of the Christ Child and his devoted parents.

While the 25th of December is a feast of celebration with the birth of Jesus, today is a feast of martyrdom. Martyrdom unchosen, martyrdom committed through the sin of another. Today, December 28th, is the Feast of the Holy Innocents. Thousands of male children 2 years old and under were massacred by Herod the ruler of Jerusalem at the time of the birth of the Christ child. The wails of the mothers of these most innocent children could be heard for days.

A voice was heard in Ramah, Rachel weeping for her children and she would not be consoled since they were no more
— Matthew 2:18

Herod was a ruthless leader. He was proud, arrogant and selfish. His weakness however was manifested in his fear. Herod slaughtered these innocents for fear of losing his authority. He was fearful of losing his power, losing his riches, losing his place in society, losing his place in the hierarchy of the Roman Empire. He was fearful his legacy would be destroyed and his son would not succeed him. Herod was fearful of a new born baby. Fearful of the The Most Holy Innocence.

It is not any different today. Millions of young men and young women are fearful of their unborn children. Our culture has made them believe they should be afraid of being alienated by friends and family, afraid of being inconvenienced, afraid of the cost of raising this most precious gift, afraid of not being able to care for their own flesh and blood. This fear causes a new massacre, the massacre of innocence caused by abortion. Innocence once again lost due to fear. Martyrdom once again unchosen, martyrdom once again committed through the sin of others.

Fear is one of the greatest catalysts for sin. We are afraid to speak the truth because it may be offensive to those we love, those we admire, those we yearn to be close to the most. We are afraid to speak the truth because sometimes the truth hurts or makes us unpopular. We are afraid to speak up for what is morally correct for fear that we may not be politically correct. When we make decisions based of fear, the results are usually disastrous with horrendous repercussions in our own lives as well as the lives of others.

Worry, anxiety and fear show a lack of trust in God, and nothing is more hurtful to Him than knowing we do not trust Him. These problems are so hurtful to Our Lord, they are considered sinful and should be taken to the confessional.  This can be the first important step in a transformative process where we give all of our problems to our Lord and become patient and trustful enough to allow Him to take care of them. While this may not be easy, it is truly the answer to putting ourselves on the path where our fears are displaced by the hope and joy found in the love of Christ!

If only Herod had known, how different things might have been. God Bless you my friends!

Love and Prayers,

Kitty

Feast of Christ the King!

I hope you all had a wonderful, restful Thanksgiving weekend with your families and are prepared for the Christmas Season. We are prepping at Joseph’s House with the decorating beginning soon and our Christmas Blessings program taking shape. Thanksgiving Dinner at the house had a full table this year. It’s quite unusual for us to have a full table at the holidays but this year most of our moms truly had nowhere to go. They enjoyed a wonderful meal of turkey and all the trimmings thanks to Sue and Michelle and all the staff who organized the day.