Fill My Cup Lord

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My grandson Jacob

Even after attending Mass today a dark cloud wanted to keep me company, these spirits are real and if you do not know how to pray it off  you, it will keep you from doing God’s work. I pushed forth to rid myself of this depression; I prayed for others, answered a few emails and watched of my youngest grandchild for a few hours, he insisted on playing hide and seek.

My walk with the Lord is steadfast and I live to serve Him but I’m still a mere mortal subjected to the attacks of the enemy. It is 1:30 PM and my plans for the day are still not even close to being complete. I consumed flavors potato chips to get me through but that never works. Finally I made my way to the treadmill and that aroused my endorphins; I prayed the Rosary and suddenly that looming cloud disappeared. It’s a mind game with the devil and he has an assignment to rob, to kill, and to destroy (James 10:10).

Please know that you are not alone when you suffer from depression, this is normal, especially when you come off a high for The Lord. The enemy is there as a constant reminder of our shortcomings; he is a lier and we need to put him in his place.

My short simple prayer:
Dear Heavenly Father,

I thank you and praise you for all you that are doing in my life. I know that this spirit of depression is not from you. Lord, please help me get through my day in victory and allow your Holy Spirit to guide my thoughts. I empty my heart, mind and spirit and ask that you Lord will fill it with your perfect love. Your word says that “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full”( John 10:10) Thank you Jesus!

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Sister Clara

To get back into the spirit of God the pictures of our recent trip reminded me of how greatly we were all used.

 

 

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On the Path to Miracles

This story, by memory, about my travels to France and Spain that I am journaling seven years later.

In the south of France is the village of Lourdes made famous by the apparitions of the Blessed Mother to 14 year old Bernadette Soubirous. Over six million pilgrims make their way to experience the healing waters of Lourdes annually. Mike and I visited Lourdes for the first time about seven years ago. We were on a personal mission to discover Mike’s roots and see the small town of his namesake: Ciriza, Spain.

What I do recall about this trip is that we met a wonderful tour guide Maria (Tota), from Pamplona, she and her family have a home in the village of Ciriza where Mike’s family originated. Ciriza’s one main street leads to San Miguel Catholic Church; we were privileged to have the sanctuary opened for us by a friend of  Tota’s.  As we passed through the over sized wooden doors we were in awe of the simple unscathed beauty of this tiny church; we walked to the second level and breathed in the holiness and prayed for our love ones.  In the  village’s recreational room casually hanging on the wall is the Ciriza Coat of Arms, Mike took several pictures but he accidentally deleted them. We love Ciriza and will return soon with our family.

Once a year in Pamplona is the Running of the Bulls, Mike’s father, Miguel was a bullfighter in Mexico but his roots started here. Mike has fond memories of his many travels to Spain with his father when he was a boy.

In the center of Pamplona is a statue of San Fermin, before running with the bulls the participants ask the saint’s protection by touching his permanent icon set in the old city walls. We ate wonderful Paella and for several days just strolled through this town made famous by Ernest Hemingway in his 1926 novel   “The Sun Also Rises”.

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Mike's father Miguel Jorge Ciriza
Mike’s father Miguel Jorge Ciriza

We took a World War II train to France, this train was wider than the normal more modern ones and creaked at every turn. We passed through the Pyrenees Mountains, countless rivers, the Bordeaux country side making whistle stops in Toulouse and other quaint villages. I was agitated with Mike because he purchased a straw hat in Madrid and insisted on wearing it the entire time. Mike is a baseball cap type of guy and this new fashion was making me crazy. He finally took the hat off and placed it on the over hang of the train for safe keeping. He was sad to discover that he left the hat on the train, I quietly thanked the Lord or his intervention. From the train we caught a taxi to our hotel in Lourdes.

Our mediocre hotel was in the center of town. We were greeted by a friendly English woman who told us where to eat and where to purchase candles. Mike was looking around and seemed detached. I asked him “what’s the matter with you?” With a furlong look he answered “this is where my mother wanted to come when she got sick,” so this trip was turning out to be a healing for Mike.

As instructed we ate at Alexandra’s, the most delicious French meal and hurried back to the hotel for the candles? I was still unclear as to why we needed candles in the first place. I asked the English lady “what are we to do with these candles,” she threw her head back and with a sweet chuckle said to “follow the crowd.” It must have been 9 PM when the people were coming from everywhere walking down the hilly streets and into the main town square . To my amazement we came upon the most beautiful Basilica, Our Lady of the Rosary, this Romanesque style cathedral is one of the largest in the world, nothing compares it it’s beauty.

We were awkward tourist and waiting for a signal when French Police stated yelling and pushing the crowd to start moving toward the town square, people in gurneys and wheelchairs joined the rest of the group. Almost as if it were from heaven everyone’s candles were lit in a few seconds. The procession started with the singing of Ave Maria and when the sound of the Blessed Mother’s name was heard the candles were held up high simultaneously; it was a chilly October night that will always remain in my heart.

 

 

 

Mike had put off surgery to repair a torn meniscus until we returned from the trip and was walking with a sturdy brace to support his injury. The following day was our visit to the Grotto, as we passed a city bench Mike instructs me to wait there for him if I got out first and vice versa. It took about an hour to finally reach the end of the Grotto line but only a few minutes to get blessed. With volunteers helping you get undressed, every stitch of clothing is removed , two women are assigned to assist you into the sacred pool of water. In broken English your asked to say your prayers, I was a reck, but remembered my intentions were for my Mother, sister Myra and brother George who were all going through terrible health issues. The water was ice cold but something very unusual happened once I got out, I was completely dry in just a few seconds, including my hair. The waters of Lourdes gave me a sense of spiritual cleansing with a feeling of total peace.

I passed the bench where Mike expected me to meet him and decided to go shopping for Rosaries. Buy the time Mike was done I was  filling a empty 32 oz. bottle with holy waters, Mike immediately tells me that he does not want to carry the water in his suitcase, no problem, I’ll carry it!

We were home for three weeks when I accidentally discover that Mike had experienced miracle in Lourdes. He came home from golfing and asked for some of “that water” I responded “What water?” Mike said he wanted the water from Lourdes. I sharply said “No! you did not help me carry it, and what do you need it for anyway?” He said he wanted to share it with his friend who had a bad knee. My Godly response was “I’m not wasting the water on your friends.” Then Mike shares with me that he was completely healed of  the torn meniscus. This was how I found out! I reminded Mike that he had to give glory to God for his healing and handed him the water for his friend.IMG_4736

In October of 2015 I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s. The symptoms were clear to my family and friends with the constance nodding of my head and the quivering of my lower lip and confirmed by the neurologist. After a grueling two hours of psychological and physical testing the specialist asked me what I thought I had. I answered, “according to Dr. Google, it Parkinson’s,” he agreed. So he gave me a prescription to help with the disorder.I asked him why he was giving me the prescription and he responded that I may have had a mini stroke. I asked him the if the mediation would help with that condition, he answered that an MRI would determine a mini stroke.  We went back and forth with the doctor insisting on me taking the medication.  I never had the intention of filling the perception without researching the side effects. Then I dropped a bomb on him and told him that I would be traveling to Lourdes and that the Lord was going to heal me. I could not believe that these words came out of my mouth, the expression of doubt and surprise on the doctor’s face did not faze me. On my sad ride home I called Mike, shared the emotional appointment and he simply said not to worry that we would get through this. Mike’s gentle words were so comforting, I set this somber news on a shelf and concentrated on getting all prayer request and getting ready for the pilgrimage.

When we arrived in Lourdes it was around 3 PM and our guide Carlos said that the Grotto maybe closing soon due to winter hours. I was so anxious not only for myself but another lady from our team Carol, suffering from stage four cancer. We went through the tour of Bernadette’s childhood home located on the opposite side of the Grotto. Finally we get in line only to discover that it was roped off. A man in a unsusal leather shorts looking outfit waves his hand as to signal that they were done for the day. I told the ladies that were with us to start praying and that we were not going to be denied this blessing. It was a small miracle when the rope was unhooked to allow us passage to the waiting area of the Grotto. We got out our prayer request and prayed until it was our turn for the bath; I had a deeper understanding of the pools of Lourdes. Days later Joanne, our director mentioned to me that I was not nodding my head any longer. The only time I was aware of my jitters was when it was brought to my attention and only them could I control it. Slowly during the trip my symptoms were disappearing. When I got home I went to lunch with a dear friend Leslie and she, with great excitement noticed that I had stopped shaking. It was then that I declared my miracle from Lourdes. I had a follow-up appointment with the neurologist but due to a stomach flu I canceled. I called to tell the doctor that I was not going to a followup because the Lord had healed me. The receptionist reply was “OOOOOk”, she did not understand what I was talking about. The doctor’s office immediately called back and told me that the doctor wanted to confirm my healing. So the story end with me at the neurologist. I was nervous and wondered what he would tell me. My mind was racing with thoughts of doubt; what if I’m not healed? I was ready to sneak out when I heard my name called. The same battery of test but this time more condensed. In the words of the doctor “I do not know what happened but there is a significant improvement”. I smiled and said “The Lord healed me in Lourdes.” I remain symptom free of this disorder and praise the Lord of His special graces poured on me that day.

Heal me Lord, and I will be healed; save me and I will be saved, for you are the one I praise. Jer 17:14

 

 

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