My husband has often expressed concern that I stack my life up with too many activities and do not make time for things he might consider more important. I have always reflected on his concern and have striven to keep balance in my life. I don't know why it is so difficult to achieve a balance between the practical life - family and work - and the spiritual life - prayer and service. In recent years, having journeyed through the loss of my mother and mother-in-law and others, and most recently the loss of my first born son, I continue to reflect on this challenge.

When our older children were in high school, I experienced a profound renewal and deepending of my faith. Through prayer and spiritual guidance, I was able to progress in achieving balance for a time. And yet the world took hold. As my children grew less dependent on me, I let the practical elements of life regain their stronghold and even allowed the spiritual pursuits to overshadow the needs of my family.

I had set goals for myself to nurture the relationships with my children as they began their own lives. I had great plans - to visit them at college at least once a semester to spend time with them in their own space - to encourage a monthly Sunday family dinner - to create natural opportunities to actively share my faith journey with them. As my parents aged, I set similar goals - to call, to visit. Though I had some success, I did not consistently bring these goals to  prayer. When I did, I berated myself for failure rather than asking for divine assistance. Eventually my best intentions were lost in the sea of time.

It is my experience that the practice of our faith, particularly the tradition (the Holy Mass) and a life of Christian prayer (Catechism Section 4) are the primary influencers that challenge us AND help us to stay on track. But only when we humble ourselves before God and ASK for divine assistance. This year (2024) is the year of the Eucharist where Christ is TRULY present to us. And EVERY year is a new time in our journey. I urge you to find balance in your life through prayer and adoration before the Blessed Sacrament! Live the challenge!

-- Bernadette (click to send me a note)

Pray Well!!

Matthew 6:25 – "Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?"


Jesus was radical. Yet he was also viewed as a teacher. When we read the stories of the gospel, there is no denying that his actions confused and confounded many. They even caused confusion for the apostles. Even they didn’t understand his mission, though he told them his purpose.

He shocked traditional leaders because he ate and kept company with those that society would have scorned and excluded. He knew, and stated publicly, that those who were lost were the ones who needed him. He knew the souls of those that were hungry for forgiveness and redemption. He knew they needed the same relationship he had with his Father.

The parables he taught were accurate to the era. And within each parable were thought-provoking events. Jesus had so many conversations with women and people outside the Jewish faith tradition that there is no question his mission extends to everyone. 

Jesus is the Savior of all people. We only need to say his name.

Jesus did not tolerate sin, rather he firmly convicted those in the wrong, but not without hope of redemption. He gave directions. He granted forgiveness. He healed the sick and raised the dead. He gave sage advice with quiet voice and was never angered by interruptions. He created teaching opportunities everywhere he went. As a matter of fact, most of his teaching moments were while he was “on the way” to somewhere.

Jesus knows our world is hard. He knows it is often hard to see the path we are walking on and the goal we wish to reach. He has compassion for our pain. Reach for him and he will return your efforts in manners unfathomable. Look for his interruptions while you are on you way.

Seek the knowledge of his word. Speak the words of the prayers. 

-- Michelle (click to send me a note)
Educational Development

Pray Well!!

P.S. Even in his time, people did not understand the parables. Jesus explained them to the apostles so that they could teach their successors. These successors now teach us, and while the context of parables may be outside of our own context, they contain timeless lessons as we continue to pursue truth. Jesus is OUR Savior!

But why do we need a Savior? The world offers us alternatives to faith - social groups, counselors, causes, medications. The world offers us paths to happinesss  - respect and esteem, the next job, the next car, the next vacation. Life is good! Indeed it is! We live in a most prosperous time; the poor have cell phones and recieve welfare checks. Medicine has wiped out diseases that plagued the men of old. We don't need God. We have evolved beyond our need for God, beyond the mysteries. We are good people, yes we are. Yes, we can be good and generous without God!

But Jesus came for ALL people not just those in his time. So what do WE need to be "saved" from? The truth is there is still oppression in our world, some government-based, some not, some physical and some emotional. There is still war and abject poverty. We may not be directly affected but we are a part of the human family that is affected and by accepting our savior, we help our human family!

But even in our personal lives, we need our savior! We need to be saved from our hurts and traumas, from our depression and anxiety, from our rabbit holes, from our fears and addcitions, from our hate, our anger and grudges. We need to be saved from the times we give in to weakness, the times we take shortcuts because it is easier, from our poor choices. Think of "saved" as meaning the same as healed.

The term "sin" has gotten a bad reputation. People see it as a statement of judgement. It is not! It is simply the human condition, the daily struggle to have courage, to be kind, and to accept challenges to live virtuously. Sin is anything we do, or even think, that does harm to anyone, including ourselves, whether phisical, emotional, or spiritual. Sin is the toxin that kills our spirit. The act in which Jesus died on the cross, rose from the dead, and ascended into heaven is that gift which restores us to our true selves, a being capable of such love and greatness that we cannot even imagine it.

Speak the name of Jesus. Accept his gift! Live in his love!


Mom, Regina, always knew who she was, a child of God. And she knew where she was going, back to her Father’s house. She shared with me in her later years that God had given her a gift, a moment of insight during a time of prayer and reflection, about who she is. She said that she saw the day of her conception… she was “there” and God was “there.” God said, “Who will go?” and she called out, “I will go!” Without even thinking twice, she knew it was her time to begin her life journey.

She was born into a chaotic and violent world, the Berlin of World War II. Her earliest memories include bombing air raids, war-torn streets, lack of basic necessities, and death. But she was born into a family of faith. She had two choices, to be angry with God or to TRUST Him completely. She chose to TRUST. In her child-like trust, and with the love of her mom and sister, she learned that even in a violent and difficult world we can create beauty and find love! She kept that child-like heart for her entire life!

Mom loved life so much that she wanted a house full of kids… she joked about having her own soccer team! Well, she didn’t quite make it to twelve, stopping at number 5. Her training as a kindergarten teacher matched her child-like spirit so perfectly and made for some wonderful experiences in our growing years. She always had things us to do: art projects, visiting museums, music & dance lessons – even extra penmanship practice. We had lots of family time, playing board games and cards regularly! She made sure we learned to speak, read, and write German so that we could have a real relationship with our grandparents, aunts & uncles, and cousins still in Germany.

Mom loved to entertain! She met dad at classical dance lessons. They were paired because they made excellent dance partners. In their years together, they would throw New Years parties, rolling up the carpet and dancing the night away! Their love for entertaining and love of their faith caused them to open their home to bible-study groups, home masses, and singing practices!

Mom’s life revolved around music and prayer! She taught herself to play several instruments. I remember the peace and joy I felt as I lay in bed at night, listening to mom practice piano. She sang with us from the time we were born. We sang in the evenings, we sang in the car (to keep us occupied), we sang at church, we sang at bedtime. When we were not singing, she played music, classical of course, and Christian contemporary, and big band or jazz on occasion. We even sang while she tolerated her double-whammy 2-minute shots at the cancer center in these last years!

Mom’s heart went far beyond our home! She served in so many ways. Her joy was to lead worship! She served at prayer meetings and churches, pretty much anywhere she found herself for an extended time, in Joppatown, then Bel Air, later in Canada. For her last 10 years mom served at St. Peter’s in Oakland, MD. Through the years, she was involved with youth catechesis and adult faith formation including marriage encounter and cursillo. She served food to shut-ins and even baked communion bread at one point. Not to mention her service at local thrift shops where she found many a treasure!

Mom and dad opened their home to others who needed a helping hand or a safe place! Serving at the Army base in Edgewood, MD, mom always found young army men and women who were happy to join our family for Sunday dinner. When I was in highschool, I had a classmate who was in trouble. I implored my parents to give him a place to stay. They did, and even though he stole from us, they did not stop opening their home. We have several extra brothers and sisters who passed through our home during their life journeys. 

The love mom showed people seemed to have no bounds. She always had time to talk to people and help people. One neighbor came running to the house one day with a young boy in her care who had gotten hurt. Mom dropped everything and spent as much time as it took to treat the boy, sing to him, and pray with him and the neighbor. And she never slowed down. At the age of 50 she became licensed in massage. For her, the healing nature of massage therapy was intimately tied to the healing ministry of Jesus. For the short time she practiced, she gave her whole heart to those whom she served.

Mom was a hugger! All her grandchildren LOVED their OMI’s hugs! Everyone tells stories of how wonderful her hugs are! One person shared with me that when Regina hugged her it was as if Mom was taking away her pain! Her oncologist shared with me that mom offered all her suffering for others. She never complained and did not act sick. She was always ready with a hug and a smile. 

I was so grateful to be with mom from the time she entered hospice to her last breath. Even in her pain and discomfort, her generosity was clear in the continuous stream of visitors, her peers, her children, foster children, adjunct army children, and especially her grandchildren, who came to sit with her, talk to her, cry for her, thank her, and to return the love she gave them as she lay in her bed. And as much as she was able, she smiled at them, touched them, and told them how precious they were.

The Catholic Church teaches that it is better to suffer consequences for our sins here on earth rather than in purgatory because at least here there might be someone to hold your hand, give you a hug, pray with you, cry with you, or just sit with you, where-as in Purgatory we suffer alone. I like to think that between mom’s experiences in war-torn Germany, the challenges in the aftermath, raising 5 strong-willed children, and finally suffering 2½ years of cancer, qualifies her for immediate entry into the arms of her loving Father!

Regina always knew who she was, a child of God. She rejoiced in little things, the bright and the beautiful and she trusted God even when her life seemed in turmoil. And now she has her final reward, back home, in heaven.

Rest In Peace, Mom

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