Cuteness & Conversion

And just like that, 8 weeks have gone by and I am back to work. My scheduled C-section went off without a hitch, my baby girl is healthy and I am getting back into the swing of things slowly but surely. It seems like such an overused cliche, but time really does fly. How is it that the hours move forward at a snail’s pace when you are in those last couple weeks of pregnancy, but once the baby is out of the womb it’s like the Indy 500!?

My boys adore their new little sister. They want to kiss her and hold her and run their hands along her silky, soft hair. They want to look at her and be with her and say “cute!” over and over again. Even at her baptism, while my dad (a permanent deacon) was speaking, my two youngest boys were holding her hands and smiling at her and my sister whispered to me sarcastically “They don’t love their sister at all do they?!” It is precious to see how they dote on her.

During maternity leave, I had a little more time to be like Mary in today’s Gospel (I am normally very much a Martha). I had more time to pray and I even read a book! I know I am way behind the 8 ball, but I finally read Abby Johnson’s “Unplanned”. Very appropriate as we are now in Respect Life Month and in the midst of 40 Days for Life. 

Her journey of conversion could be likened to those of the people of Nineveh in today’s First Reading. Just as they put on sack cloth and ashes in repentance, she left Planned Parenthood and went directly to a pro-life agency and began advocating for life. 

Reading her story has reignited my desire to help this cause in any small way that I can. Perhaps I can donate baby items to the local pregnancy center. Perhaps I can commit to an hour of prayer in front of the clinic downtown. Perhaps I can contact my local politicians so they don’t vote to pass a bill that does not protect the lives of the vulnerable…

So my “Mary moments” of stillness and reflection can lead to “Martha moments” of reaching out to others. Reading about others’ conversions can help me consider how I need to change to become more Christ-like. 

And while this mother’s heart has so enjoyed being home these past weeks, I am now called to move forward and onward, to continue ministering to others. Life is full. Life is beautiful. 

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Tami Urcia grew up in Western Michigan, a middle child in a large Catholic family. She spent early young adulthood as a missionary in Mexico, studying theology and philosophy, then worked and traveled extensively before finishing her Bachelor’s Degree in Western Kentucky. She loves tackling projects, finding fun ways to keep her little ones, quiet conversation with the hubby and finding unique ways to love. She works at her parish, is a guest blogger on CatholicMom.com and BlessedIsShe.net, runs her own blog at https://togetherandalways.wordpress.com and has been doing Spanish translations on the side for over 20 years.

Feature Image Credit: Garrett Jackson, https://unsplash.com/photos/oOnJWBMlb5A

God’s Generosity

As a child, my parents taught me to tithe 10% of every dime I made. I started delivering newspapers when I was nine years old and babysitting when I was eleven or twelve, so each week I would bring my contribution to church.

My dad was on the stewardship committee at our parish for many years and he loved to tell the story of me as a child leaning over to my mom asking if I could borrow $1.20 to put in the collection basket because I had earned $12 that week and had forgotten my wallet.

I share this not to toot my own horn, but rather to express that there is something truly beautiful about tithing and it has helped me to keep God first by cutting Him the first check right off the top.

My husband and I have been through some tough times for sure. Unemployment, underemployment, a signed work contract that wasn’t honored, renters who didn’t pay, people who trashed portions of our home, etc. But not once have we been without food to eat or a roof over our heads and very seldom have we even been in debt.

If any of you are familiar with Dave Ramsey, he suggests doing a monthly $0 budget, where you keep track of all income versus all expenses and they should balance out to $0. I have been doing this for quite some time, and somehow, I always end up in the red. (BOO!) But what never ceases to amaze me and what I don’t fully understand, is that even though I come out in the negative on paper, I always have money in the bank left over! It is almost like God multiplies my own little loaves and fishes each and every month! God is good!

I truly believe this is a phenomenon of God’s generosity. He takes my measly 10% and makes sure I never go without.

God shows similar generosity in today’s First Reading. Ruth, a poor foreigner who left her family and her native land to take care of her mother-in-law, was blessed in abundance. Boaz recognized her virtue and took her as his wife and she was never in need again. Most likely, it didn’t occurred to her that she was being generous, she was just acting out of love, but God rewarded her nonetheless. Not only did she enjoy financial stability, she became the great-grandmother of King David!

Today’s Psalm declares: “See how the Lord blesses those who fear him.” The Lord wants to bless us so much more than we can imagine. We may have to weather poverty or storms or difficulties, but we can always find God’s hand in our lives, no matter what we are going through.

So whether it be by tithing, taking care of a loved one or serving in a ministry God has called us to, let us strive to be generous with God. Then sit back and see just how generous He is with you!

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Tami Urcia grew up in Western Michigan, a middle child in a large Catholic family. She spent early young adulthood as a missionary in Mexico, studying theology and philosophy, then worked and traveled extensively before finishing her Bachelor’s Degree in Western Kentucky. She loves tackling home improvement projects, finding fun ways to keep her four boys occupied, quiet conversation with the hubby and finding unique ways to love. She works at her parish, is a guest blogger on CatholicMom.com and BlessedIsShe.net, runs her own blog at https://togetherandalways.wordpress.com and has been doing Spanish translations on the side for almost 20 years.

Feature Image Credit: Raphael Rychetsky, https://unsplash.com/photos/li9JfUHQfOY

No Minced Words

There are definitely no minced words in today’s readings. The children of Israel began serving other gods, so the Lord got angry with them and allowed them to suffer disastrous consequences.

In the Gospel, a young man asks what more he can do and Jesus tells Him to give up everything and follow Him. Jesus does not congratulate him for following the commandments, nor does He say, “Oh alright, you are already such a good guy, you win a free ticket to heaven!” 

No, Jesus speaks the truth in justice. Sometimes what He says is not such music to our ears. Sometimes it is more like a clashing gong. 

Yet we know that his promises are true. We know that what He says, what He asks us to do, is for our own good, for our own ultimate good, for our eternal salvation. 

As parents, we often have to tell our children what they do not want to hear. We often have to limit sweets, screen time, and other “fun” things in order to teach them self-control and how to take care of themselves. We have to show them how to take turns with their siblings, how to share, how to conduct themselves with good manners, etc. None of this is easy for them to hear. Much of it probably does not sound fair. And if they do not obey, they too have consequences. 

Yet as they grow, they also realize that what we have attempted to teach them in these not so pleasant moments is ultimately for their own good as well. They may rebel as the children of Israel did, or they may think they are already good enough as the man in the Gospel did. In the end, only God is their judge. 

Today, let us ask God not to mince words with us but to tell us directly what more we should do to love and serve Him more fully, more completely and more purely.

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Tami Urcia grew up in Western Michigan, a middle child in a large Catholic family. She spent early young adulthood as a missionary in Mexico, studying theology and philosophy, then worked and traveled extensively before finishing her Bachelor’s Degree in Western Kentucky. She loves tackling home improvement projects, finding fun ways to keep her kiddos occupied, quiet conversation with the hubby and finding unique ways to love. She works at her parish, is a guest blogger on CatholicMom.com and BlessedIsShe.net, runs her own blog at https://togetherandalways.wordpress.com and has been doing Spanish translations on the side for over 20 years.

Feature Image Credit: Sarah Wolfe, https://unsplash.com/photos/GtYyn0AyMa8

Repetitive Forgiveness

**Due to server issues, this post was not published on 8/12/21, so we are posting it now.**

Today I am scheduled for a repeat C-section. As I write, I don’t know if I will go into labor early or be lying in a hospital bed as you read this, but the miracle is the same. I will be holding our first baby girl in just a short time. As a mother, those last few weeks are grueling in so many ways. Not only is my body just “done” with being pregnant as I experience the aches and pains associated with a watermelon-size bowling ball in my abdomen, but the anticipation alone is tough to ride out. There are nerves, a little fear, and the overwhelming joy at welcoming new life into the family.

Sometimes it seems that the children of those of us with big families get lost in the crowd. “Oh, there they go again! They just had ANOTHER one! How many do they have now? I can’t remember…” Yet each life is so precious and God knows us each by name.

With four boys at home, I am hoping this little one will be a calming factor in our active, rough and tumble household. I am hoping they will learn to treat her gently and treat each other more gently in the process. Barely a day goes by without one of them getting an “owie”, usually because they are chasing each other or disagreeing about something.

So I find myself repeating over and over again: “Say sorry to your brother.” It is often hard for them to eek out that one simple word. And sometimes it’s even harder for the one receiving it to say, “that’s okay”.  

Yet in our Gospel today we hear Peter ask that difficult question: “Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive him?” And Jesus goes on to answer “seventy-seven times”. In other words, as many times as necessary.

How do we instill that in our children? How can I teach my boys to forgive over and over and over as Jesus would? How will I teach my daughter?

We can lead by example. My husband and I make our fair share of mistakes as well and we ask for forgiveness from our children for misunderstanding them. When we ask for forgiveness and tell them we’re sorry, perhaps it helps them to do the same with their brothers a bit more easily.

So whether the offense be big or small, we are called to imitate Christ in pardoning our brothers and sisters. Will we forgive them seven times or seventy-seven times? May God grant us the grace to do the latter. 

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Tami Urcia grew up in Western Michigan, a middle child in a large Catholic family. She spent early young adulthood as a missionary in Mexico, studying theology and philosophy, then worked and traveled extensively before finishing her Bachelor’s Degree in Western Kentucky. She loves tackling home improvement projects, finding fun ways to keep her four boys occupied, quiet conversation with the hubby and finding unique ways to love. She works at her parish, is a guest blogger on CatholicMom.com and BlessedIsShe.net, runs her own blog at https://togetherandalways.wordpress.com and has been doing Spanish translations on the side for almost 20 years.

Feature Image Credit: Nick Fewings, https://unsplash.com/photos/teUoVzv9sBc

The Gift of Life

The mystery of human life is truly amazing. I can’t believe how my kids love to lay on my belly, rub it and give it kisses. They can’t wait for their little sister to come out! Just the other day, my six-year-old said to me, “Mommy, ‘little coconut’ will be out soon, so can we take a picture so I can remember when she was still in your tummy?” So we took turns with all the boys taking pictures of them hugging, kissing or rubbing my (very large) belly.

All during his illness, my son took such comfort in his unborn little sister. Whenever he wasn’t feeling well, he asked me to come over to his bed so he could be near her and give her kisses. He always talks about how she is such a little cutie and tells me 5-20 times a day how he wants her to come out. I keep reminding him that if she comes out too early she will have to stay at the hospital for a long time and he won’t be able to see her anyway, but he continues saying it over and over and over. Now my husband and my other sons are saying it too, but I’m pretty sure, no one wants her out more than mommy!

In the First Reading, the children of Israel were given a whole new life, one free from slavery and oppression, but instead of praising God for His wondrous love, they come to Moses with one grumble after another. Just like my son wants his sister out so bad, they wanted to get out of Egypt something fierce! They prayed and prayed for deliverance, and God heard their prayer.

What confounds me is that even though the Israelites don’t ask nicely, God still listens to them and provides for their needs.

“Here in the desert the whole assembly of the children of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron. The children of Israel said to them, ‘Would that we had died at the LORD’s hand in the land of Egypt, as we sat by our fleshpots and ate our fill of bread! But you had to lead us into this desert to make the whole community die of famine!’ [ ] The LORD spoke to Moses and said, ‘I have heard the grumbling of the children of Israel. Tell them: In the evening twilight you shall eat flesh, and in the morning you shall have your fill of bread, so that you may know that I, the LORD, am your God.’”

He doesn’t say to them “You bunch of whiny babies, get a grip! I delivered you so I could watch you starve in agony! Mwaaa haaa haaa!” No. He grants them meat and bread to eat. He wants them to live.

In the same way, He wants us to live. And whether we know how to ask or not, He grants our needs. He gives us Bread from heaven (ref. Psalm Response) to nourish us on our journey. He gives us new life to grant comfort and joy. Let us thank God today for the gift of life. 

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Tami Urcia grew up in Western Michigan, a middle child in a large Catholic family. She spent early young adulthood as a missionary in Mexico, studying theology and philosophy, then worked and traveled extensively before finishing her Bachelor’s Degree in Western Kentucky. She loves tackling home improvement projects, finding fun ways to keep her four boys occupied, quiet conversation with the hubby and finding unique ways to love. She works at her parish, is a guest blogger on CatholicMom.com and BlessedIsShe.net, runs her own blog at https://togetherandalways.wordpress.com and has been doing Spanish translations on the side for almost 20 years.

Feature Image Credit: Aditya Romansa, https://unsplash.com/photos/5zp0jym2w9M

An Attitude of Gratitude

It’s always interesting to hear the reactions when we have a period of cool days during our short Michigan summer. Some are in seventh heaven, pull out their sweat shirts, stoke the bonfire and enjoy the wind blowing through their hair. Others are saddened that their vacations are ruined or it’s too cold to swim and wish for the scorching sun to return. Others just go with the flow, knowing that the heat will be back soon enough.

This could be a great metaphor for our spiritual life as well. When we feel the warmth of summer in our souls, do we act upon it? When the flame of the Holy Spirit burns within us, do we allow our souls to be caught on fire?

When we are saddened because we are in a period of waiting, and that joyful anticipation has seemingly disappeared, do we lament and wish for things to be different? Or do we live in the moment and take more time for prayer?

Or are we just floating along on a lazy river, steering neither left nor right, up nor down, just letting life take us where it may? Is this really living?

It all comes down to gratitude. If you think about it, the measure of our gratefulness is the measure of our joy. If we are thankful for the warmth and thankful for the chill and thankful for everything in between, we will find ourselves content.

And with joy-filled hearts we will be able to proclaim together with the Psalmist: 

“Bless the LORD, O my soul; and all my being, bless his holy name. Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits. He pardons all your iniquities, he heals all your ills. He redeems your life from destruction, he crowns you with kindness and compassion. The LORD secures justice and the rights of all the oppressed. He has made known his ways to Moses, and his deeds to the children of Israel.”

What an amazing cascade of praise! Many of us struggle to eke out a simple “thank you.” Can you imagine your soul being so full that you could not stop expressing your gratitude?!

So let us strive to shift our thoughts to the positive, remembering all of God’s mercies and all of His blessings, and be grateful for what truly matters. It may be warm today and cold tomorrow, but God’s love is with us through it all. Thank you, Lord, for you are truly kind and merciful!

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Tami Urcia grew up in Western Michigan, a middle child in a large Catholic family. She spent early young adulthood as a missionary in Mexico, studying theology and philosophy, then worked and traveled extensively before finishing her Bachelor’s Degree in Western Kentucky. She loves tackling home improvement projects, finding fun ways to keep her four boys occupied, quiet conversation with the hubby and finding unique ways to love. She works at her parish, is a guest blogger on CatholicMom.com and BlessedIsShe.net, runs her own blog at https://togetherandalways.wordpress.com and has been doing Spanish translations on the side for almost 20 years.

Feature Image Credit: Nathan Dumlao, https://unsplash.com/photos/fs_l0Xqlc90

The Lord’s Help Amid the Nightmare

As I was sharing with my sister-in-law all that my son has been through, I told her this felt like the song that never ends. She responded, “more like the nightmare that never ends”. And she was right. It has seemed more like a nightmare, but low and behold, it appears it has come to an end. After two full months including three five-day hospital stays, two surgeries, several procedures, a catheter, blood draws, countless IV’s, a few follow-up appointments, two weeks with an abdominal drain and two weeks on a feeding tube to administer meds, my son is left with a healthy body and 5 or 6 small scars on his belly to show for it. All that remains is to build up his strength and his appetite so he can enjoy the rest of the summer.

In today’s Gospel Jesus proclaims: “…whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever does not take up his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”

This hit me right between the eyes. I have been focusing so much on my son that my relationship with my God has gone by the wayside. Do I love my son more than my God? Has this trial been a cross that I am called to take up? Have I been trying to find my “normal” life these past two months only to realize I have lost it? Although I don’t think I could ever be worthy of God, I would hate to become unworthy from my own doing…

Bishop Barron’s reflection today held a great reminder: “‘And I will make you fishers of men.’ This is one of the best lines in Scripture. Notice the first part of the phrase: ‘I will make you.’ God is the one who makes us from nothing. To live in sin is to live outside of the creative power of God, to pretend that we can make ourselves. How wonderful that he tells us that he will make us!”

It is God who allows us to walk into the storm and it is God who leads us out of it. He molds us, shapes us, transforms us and makes us with each and every experience we live.

Our Psalm Response echoes this sentiment: “Our help is in the name of the Lord.”

Sure, I have received help from others, from family and friends who have supported me during this time, from doctors and nurses who have done their best to take care of my son, from perfect strangers who have prayed or sent gift cards for a meal, but it has all been the Lord working through them. My true stronghold, my one and only Sustainer is the Lord. I cannot rely on my own power or feeble strength.

So as this season comes to a close and we turn our focus on welcoming our fifth child soon, I pray that you also be reminded that God is in charge of making you and that your help is in His name alone.

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Tami Urcia grew up in Western Michigan, a middle child in a large Catholic family. She spent early young adulthood as a missionary in Mexico, studying theology and philosophy, then worked and traveled extensively before finishing her Bachelor’s Degree in Western Kentucky. She loves tackling home improvement projects, finding fun ways to keep her four boys occupied, quiet conversation with the hubby and finding unique ways to love. She works at her parish, is a guest blogger on CatholicMom.com and BlessedIsShe.net, runs her own blog at https://togetherandalways.wordpress.com and has been doing Spanish translations on the side for almost 20 years.

Feature Image Credit: Ben White, https://unsplash.com/photos/ReEqHw2GyeI

Our Smallness and God’s Strength

My kids’ bedtime stories consist of a good mix of library books, super hero conquests, animal adventures, outer space voyages and Bible stories. But about once a month, they pull out their baby albums and love looking at themselves as newborns. It’s hard for them to believe they were so little. 

Sometimes they also ask me to sing to them. One of their favorite songs is about Zaccheus, the tax collector: “Zaccheus was a wee little man, a wee little man was he. He climbed up in a sycamore tree, for the Lord he wanted to see. ‘Zaccheus! Come down! For I’m going to your house today. I’m going to your house today.” 

While three of my sons were born at about 8lbs 9oz and 21 inches long, my second son was born at two pounds and two inches less. He wasn’t a premie, he has just always been smaller. He knows he’s my little one, so one day he said to me, “Mommy, I’m just like Zaccheus, aren’t I? Because I’m small too!” 

I wonder if the apostles who were sent out to evangelize in today’s Gospel also felt small. They were told: “take nothing for the journey but a walking stick—no food, no sack, no money in [your] belts.” Were they scared, wondering if their needs would be met? Did they wonder if they were important enough that people would actually listen to them? 

We don’t have to do great things to make a difference. We just have to do what God asks us to do. I love the example of St. Therese of Lisieux and her little way. She just did small things with great love. 

Perhaps the apostles did feel insignificant or unworthy but in the end they believed in the power of God. They trusted that He would work through them and “so they went off and preached repentance. [They] drove out many demons, and they anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them.”

I remember one particular moment when I was in the hospital with my son that I really thought I couldn’t do it anymore. Instead of asking God to give me the strength to go on, I begged Him, “God BE my strength”. And He did. I was too small to endure on my own, but asking God to take over and become my strength granted me the grace I needed. 

God can do so much with our smallness as long as our willingness is included. May the Lord be your strength today. 

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Tami Urcia grew up in Western Michigan, a middle child in a large Catholic family. She spent early young adulthood as a missionary in Mexico, studying theology and philosophy, then worked and traveled extensively before finishing her Bachelor’s Degree in Western Kentucky. She loves tackling home improvement projects, finding fun ways to keep her four boys occupied, quiet conversation with the hubby and finding unique ways to love. She works at her parish, is a guest blogger on CatholicMom.com and BlessedIsShe.net, runs her own blog at https://togetherandalways.wordpress.com and has been doing Spanish translations on the side for almost 20 years.

Feature Image Credit: Liane Metzler, https://unsplash.com/photos/B32qg6Ua34Y

Praise Amid the Storm

I read a really good reflection the other day by Dr. MaryRuth Hackett, who writes for Blessed Is She. It spoke about the suffering of another woman who was questioning why God would allow her to go through what she was going through, and how the response of a friend helped her change her perspective. Her friend reminded her that perhaps her own sufferings were in preparation for something yet to come, or simply to help her be there for others.

Dr. Hackett writes: “It is very difficult to have empathy if we lack experience. Even if we love someone deeply, it is impossible to walk the path of grief for example, if we have never experienced grief. We can sympathize, but we cannot empathize. We can witness and listen, but we lack a level of understanding.”

This was truly helpful to me considering all we continue to go through with my son’s health. It is so easy to question why a small six-year-old boy must endure this. It is so easy to get angry and become anxious.

Yet, what if these trials will later allow me to be there for someone else who is suffering? What if the suffering will make my son stronger or get him thinking about ministering to the sick as a doctor or a priest?

We do not know the big picture. We do not know the reasons. We can only trust, holding on to God for dear life during our wild ride on this planet.

I pray that somehow I may find the strength that the people of Macedonia had in today’s First Reading, who “in a severe test of affliction, the abundance of their joy and their profound poverty overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part.” In the midst of their suffering, they found a way to be generous to others. I have no doubt they also praised God, just as Job had done during his time of great trial.

So, instead of getting stuck in a rut of anguish, I feel called to view this trial with a wider perspective. Just yesterday as I was talking with my husband he mentioned that my eight-year-old was now playing much more with his younger siblings, whom he didn’t interact with much before. I also thought that since my ill son is very sensitive, this ordeal might grant him more strength of character to endure life’s blows.

The end of the First Reading also grants comfort: “For you know the gracious act of our Lord Jesus Christ, that for your sake he became poor although he was rich, so that by his poverty you might become rich.”

I have yet to comprehend what fruits or “riches” this trial may bring, but in the meantime, may God grant me the grace to exclaim with the Psalmist: “Praise the Lord, my soul!”

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Tami Urcia grew up in Western Michigan, a middle child in a large Catholic family. She spent early young adulthood as a missionary in Mexico, studying theology and philosophy, then worked and traveled extensively before finishing her Bachelor’s Degree in Western Kentucky. She loves tackling home improvement projects, finding fun ways to keep her four boys occupied, quiet conversation with the hubby and finding unique ways to love. She works at her parish, is a guest blogger on CatholicMom.com and BlessedIsShe.net, runs her own blog at https://togetherandalways.wordpress.com and has been doing Spanish translations on the side for almost 20 years.

Feature Image Credit: Johannes Plenio, https://unsplash.com/photos/2QUvkQTBh5s

The Mysteries of God’s Sacred Heart

Have you ever heard the song “Blessings” by Laura Story? It beautifully depicts one of the greatest paradoxes of the Christian life. 

“ ’Cause what if your blessings come through raindrops? What if your healing comes through tears? What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know you’re near? And what if trials in this life, are your mercies in disguise?”

As I sit in a hospital room yet again with my son, who is experiencing post-op complications, I listen to this song over and over and let the tears fall. Are they healing tears? I have yet to find out. Have I had a thousand sleepless nights? It’s definitely been more than a few. Do I feel like this trial is God’s mercy? Absolutely not. 

Yet, who am I to predict the end of the story? Maybe I do need a few more nights of agony to realize how near God is to me through it all, how He wants to hold me close and wipe my tears away.

The song goes on to say “The pain reminds this heart that this is not, this is not our home. It’s not our home”! [] “What if my greatest disappointments, or the aching of this life, is a revealing of a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy?” Well, I am aching for sure. There is something basically unfair about watching a child suffer. It is times like these that truly make us long for heaven. 

And how fitting to long for heaven on a day like today, when we begin the month dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. We will never understand the depths of His love or why it is that the trials of this life are evidence of his mercy. These are just a couple of the mysteries whose answers will be revealed in heaven. 

Today’s Alleluia Antiphon states: “May the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ enlighten the eyes of our hearts, that we may know what is the hope that belongs to his call.”

I pray that He enlighten the eyes of my heart. I need it so bad. I feel like my faith is so practical yet so little heartfelt. I live it day in a day out, but how much do I love within it? I love through actions, fulfillment of duty, yet when I am not able to carry out that duty due to headstrong children, a family member’s angry reaction or continuous illness, where is my love then? Where is my hope?

Friends, our Lord has come to give us this hope and show us His fathomless love. Whether you are going through a storm right now as I am, or your raindrops have ceased for a season, I pray that the Lord show you the depths of His Sacred Heart. May you truly know the hope that belongs to your call to be His disciple and carry His love to others. 

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Tami Urcia grew up in Western Michigan, a middle child in a large Catholic family. She spent early young adulthood as a missionary in Mexico, studying theology and philosophy, then worked and traveled extensively before finishing her Bachelor’s Degree in Western Kentucky. She loves tackling home improvement projects, finding fun ways to keep her four boys occupied, quiet conversation with the hubby and finding unique ways to love. She works at her parish, is a guest blogger on CatholicMom.com and BlessedIsShe.net, runs her own blog at https://togetherandalways.wordpress.com and has been doing Spanish translations on the side for almost 20 years.

Feature Image Credit: Jonathan Dick, OSFS, https://unsplash.com/photos/BJlO1Jt8sdQ

God as Father and King

“Amen, amen, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in my name he will give you.”

This passage was far from my mind as I watched my six-year-old son get up on all fours in the hospital bed, retch, and then tell me his tummy “really, really, really, really hurt”.  Acute appendicitis had my little guy suffering and mommy suffering right along with him. Post-op was almost worse as all joy and silliness was gone from his normally playful demeanor and he didn’t even dare to move out of fear it would hurt. He didn’t want to eat, drink or talk.

I was about to have a breakdown, the tears finally falling a few days into my new normal. So many were reaching out by text and social media, expressing their concern, offering their help and most of all, praying for him. Suddenly I realized that my own prayers were sorely lacking.

“Until now you have not asked anything in my name; ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be complete.” I asked for a priest to come anoint him, prayed my rosary and a few simple supplications. It was all my worried and weary soul could manage.

A few hours later, he seems to perk up. I finally got my first smile out of him, and later on, a giggle. The next day he was eating much better, walking more and played most of the day.

“For the Father himself loves you…”

His appendix was ruptured and infected. I could have lost him. Yet the Father showed his love for me and His love for my son by allowing him to recover, however slowly it may be.

I could question, just as his grandma did, why one so young has to suffer so much. I could cry and complain, wag my head at God and lose faith in Him. Perhaps no one would even blame me for doing so, but how could I distance myself from the very One who sustains me?

Today’s Psalm sums it up precisely: “God is king of all the earth.” Period. He is king of this hospital room, king of my son, king of his health, king of my heart. His will dictates what will and will not happen. I am not in control.

May this day bring you the opportunity to ask for what you need, receive it gratefully, realize how much the Father loves you and experience joy as His gift to you. May He be king of your life and your heart.

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Tami Urcia grew up in Western Michigan, a middle child in a large Catholic family. She spent early young adulthood as a missionary in Mexico, studying theology and philosophy, then worked and traveled extensively before finishing her Bachelor’s Degree in Western Kentucky. She loves tackling home improvement projects, finding fun ways to keep her four boys occupied, quiet conversation with the hubby and finding unique ways to love. She works at her parish, is a guest blogger on CatholicMom.com and BlessedIsShe.net, runs her own blog at https://togetherandalways.wordpress.com and has been doing Spanish translations on the side for almost 20 years.

Feature Image Credit: Markus Spiske, https://unsplash.com/photos/-NlLXMpE-AY

Hardworking St. Joseph

This day has always been one of the most special dates on my calendar. As a young adult, I made an effort to foster a close relationship with Mary and Joseph, and today we get to celebrate them both (since it’s the first day of the month of May)! When I finally found my husband, we decided to name our first son after this incredible saint. We couldn’t believe that one of my numerous siblings hadn’t named one of my even more numerous nephews after him. What a blessing!

Today we focus on a specific aspect of Joseph’s holiness, his spirit of hard work. We know that he was a carpenter and worked with his hands to provide for Jesus and Mary. I find this virtue to be particularly difficult to instill in our Joseph. As parents, we want to give our children everything, to provide for their every need and at times it’s hard not to spoil them. The chore charts hang on the refrigerator unenforced, the dishes schedule remains an idea in my head, and it’s like pulling teeth trying to get him and his brothers to pick up toys so we can vacuum.

Sure, we’ve had plenty of teaching moments where we talk until we’re red in the face about the importance of helping out as a family and how when he grows up he won’t have money to buy food unless he works… but what will help him and his brothers to truly understand?

I admit mommy and daddy need to be a tad more consistent, but deeper than that, we can point him to the example of good St. Joseph. The optional reading for this feast day states “Over all these things put on love…And let the peace of Christ control your hearts…And be thankful. And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus…for the Lord and not for men…”

I can see St. Joseph living out these words each and every day, working tirelessly out of love. He worked calmly, peacefully, skillfully using his tools to shape the wood, most likely praying as he went along. And most certainly he was thankful. Thankful for God’s guidance and provision, for allowing the work of his hands to provide for the needs of his most holy family. And we already know he did not live before men, because if he did, he would have never married Mary in the first place. His vocation was to serve the Lord.

Dear St. Joseph, thank you for your example of hard work and fidelity to God’s will. Help us to imitate your loving, peaceful, grateful and pure way of living and to teach our children to do the same. May we pray with hearts full of trust “Lord, give success to the work of our hands” (Psalm Response) that we may glorify you. Amen. 

Contact the author

Tami Urcia grew up in Western Michigan, a middle child in a large Catholic family. She spent early young adulthood as a missionary in Mexico, studying theology and philosophy, then worked and traveled extensively before finishing her Bachelor’s Degree in Western Kentucky. She loves tackling home improvement projects, finding fun ways to keep her four boys occupied, quiet conversation with the hubby and finding unique ways to love. She works at her parish, is a guest blogger on CatholicMom.com and BlessedIsShe.net, runs her own blog at https://togetherandalways.wordpress.com and has been doing Spanish translations on the side for almost 20 years.

Feature Image Credit: Michael O’Sullivan, https://unsplash.com/photos/xA36Wy213uM