Saturday, March 28, 2009


I only planned to walk to the end of my driveway to the mailbox. Misty, spring rain was falling so I wore my jacket with hood against the lingering winter chill, and I opened my umbrella.
Suddenly, spring overwhelmed me with its earthy fragrance and happy bird chatter. The multi-hues of newly budding greenery and the yellow gold of Forsythia assaulted my senses and pulled at me insisting that I walk my usual mile despite the puddles and drizzle. I yielded to the impulse and eagerly greeted virgin spring to embrace it with joy before it became commonplace....


Leona Choy

He takes the drab canvas
of leaden winter skies
dusky and dark
cinnamon hills, naked trees
ice-bound silent brooks
skeleton fences
and with a dip of His brush
into rich colors
He transforms all nature
into a masterpiece of brilliance.

The ageless springtime scenario
is superimposed on skies of primary blue
set off by wisp-white cotton clouds
afloat like misshapen balloons
above hills daubed with multi-green.

Trees are splashed with blossoms
whose exhilarating fragrance intoxicates
and revives winter-sedated nostrils.
Brooks melt and once again
laugh with childish abandon.
Fences stretch eager arms
for scarlet tanager to perch and sing.
Posts and stumps are enhanced with vines
while morning-glories twine and cling.

God’s seasonal miracle is displayed
alike in nature’s scene
and in the human heart.

O Divine Painter, my Christ
I lay my life bare before You.
My worn winter canvas
alas, is not fresh and clean
but botched and bungled
defaced by novice hands
of self and sin.

You take Redemption's brush
and recast my routine days
of grays and tedium
into a fresh adventure
with the Divine.
To You I turn my face
as nature does so trustfully
in anticipation of Your skill
and I thrill to the artistic finesse
of Your delicate brush
transforming me, O Master Artist
with Your vivid, lustrous colors
into SPRING again!

"If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation;
the old order has passed away;
now all is new!" 2 Cor. 5:17
“The One who sat on the throne said to me,
‘See, I make all things new!’” Rev. 21:5


Tuesday, March 24, 2009


By Leona Choy

Biblical background

“O our God…we are at a loss what to do, hence our eyes are turned toward you. All Judah was standing before the Lord, with their little ones, their wives, and their children….Thus says the Lord to you, ‘Do not fear or lose heart…for the battle is not yours but God’s….He appointed those who sang to the Lord and those who praised Him in holy attire…and they said, ‘Give thanks to the Lord, for His mercy endures forever.’” (2 Chronicles 20:12, 13, 15, 21)

“When the days of their [his children’s] feasting [celebrations, family get-togethers] each on his day [birthday] in turn were over, Job sent for them to purify and sanctify them. He rose up early in the morning and offered burnt offerings for every one of them. For Job said, ‘It may be that my sons have sinned, and cursed, or disowned God in their hearts.’ Thus did Job habitually.” (Job 1:5 Amplified)

“….Resist the devil and he will take flight….” (James 1:4)

“Posterity will serve Him; It will be told of the Lord to the coming generation. They will come and will declare His righteousness to a people who will be born that He has performed it.” (Psalm 22: 30, 31) “That the generation to come might know, even the children yet to be born, that they may arise and tell them to their children, That they should put their confidence in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep His commandments.” (Psalm 78: 6, 7) “One generation shall praise Thy works to another, and shall declare Thy mighty acts.” (Psalm 145:4)

O Lord, I pray for my family, not in my own righteousness but because of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ for the salvation of men and His holiness before God.

As the matriarch of my family, I come before You to intercede for Your grace and mercy upon all my family—my infants (no matter what their ages) and their wives and children, and my grandchildren and great-grandchildren. I ask that Your Holy Spirit will draw the eternal soul of each one to repentance and salvation and eternal life in accord with the promises of Your Word. I claim each one as a child of Your covenant.

I ask You to protect my family physically and spiritually. Lead them in Your paths of righteousness. Bless them with Your favor, give them their daily bread, and prosper them according to their needs.

Deliver them from evil and the evil one. On the authority of God’s Word I declare spiritual strongholds to be torn down and past generational curses removed. In the Name of Jesus I resist the devil on behalf of my family and demand that his bonds upon them be broken, that he get off their backs, get out of their faces, out of their lives, and off their bodies and properties.

I call forth Your blessings, O Lord, upon my family in agreement with the prayers of our godly ancestors. I receive Your favor and grace and mercy for myself and for my descendants because of Your love and faithfulness to Your generational promises to my forefathers. Through the synergy of our prayers, I pass on those blessings with vigor and faith to our posterity.

I pray that Your will shall be done on earth as it is in heaven both in my life and in the lives of each member of my family. Help us to be diligent to establish and pass on a godly heritage to those yet unborn. May we courageously fulfill the purposes for which You gave us life and opportunity in our particular time in history.




Animals have it right—they graze on lots of greens.

Here's a simple goody dressing for any green leafy spring toss salad—be sure there is fresh spinach in it—or all spinach. On the greens (or any other veggies you want to add) toss in fresh sliced mushrooms, fresh strawberries, mandarin orange segments, sliced hardboiled eggs, and crumbled bacon.


Thinly sliced onion
1/4 cup water
1/4 c olive oil
1/4 c ketchup
1/4 c brown sugar
Dash of garlic powder
1/2 tsp spicy mustard
2 T cider vinegar
Salt and Pepper

Shake it up!
Toss just before eating.



SPRING startled me today
as I shook out the dust mop.
He took me by surprise
for I didn't realize
he was so close!

He slipped behind me
ruffled my hair with the wind
kissed my cheek with the sun
and then laughed
to see me blush.
His warm breath caressed my neck
teasing me, making me restless
as I swept winter from the porch.

I tried to get him off my mind
by staying inside at humdrum tasks.
SPRING rustled the curtains to get my attention
and flirted with me
through the open window.

I can't resist him!

I must run away with him
right away today! So I race
with trowel and seeds in hand
to our garden rendezvous
our "special place"
eager once more
for the touch of the rich mulch
and sweet earthy scent
of Virginia country soil.

Despite the lingering chill
of the retreating March wind
in ecstasy I kneel
in the moist flower bed
breathing hard, delighted to feel
basic nature and the hope of life
incipient in the seed
that is about to experience
I surrender to my impulse...
I will cast off my winter inhibition
and yield to the thrill
of SPRING'S embrace!


Monday, March 16, 2009


Dear friend Jennifer,

Although the earthly light of the candle I lit for our friend Tricia after Mass this morning seems to have been extinguished, her spirit is not in the dark. Our hope in Christ is that it is burning and shining brightly in the presence of her loving God who breathed the breath of life into her and now has taken it back to Himself in its fullness and completion. Let us pray for her journey as she is being borne up to her Eternal Home by angels as though on eagles' wings. May she already be purified and made holy and perfect through enduring her prolonged earthly pain and suffering from cancer as she united it with the suffering of Christ for her. She knew well "the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death" (Phil. 3:10). Let's truly celebrate that as she put her faith in Christ, now she is experiencing "For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain" (Phil. 1:21)

In the prayers of our Church for the soul who has departed this life:

Loving and merciful God,
we entrust our sister Tricia to your mercy.
You loved her greatly in this life:
now that she is freed from all its cares,
give her happiness and peace forever.
The old order has passed away;
Welcome her now into paradise
where there will be no more sorrow,
no more weeping or pain,
but only peace and joy
with Jesus, your Son, and the Holy Spirit
forever and ever. Amen.

And one of Leona’s poems—


WILL IT BE DARK when I cross
That Ultimate Threshold?
"Beyond the sunset" implies night
with all its fright, as the next scene
unknown, seems to unfold.
"He who follows Me" Jesus assures
those who walk this earth
(how much more those on The Other Shore
who have leaped limitations into immortality)
"shall not walk in darkness
but have the Light of Life."

"NO NIGHT THERE!" thunders The Revelation,
"The Lamb is The Light" the Lamp is His Presence
"no sun and no moon" speaks their obsolescence
all is as noon, all is The Light!

It shall not be that we stumble and grope
in the sure darkness of those without hope.
But we, who even now dwell in Eternity
shall shine constantly as the stars forever and ever.
The blind shall see, the lame walk, the dumb talk
all praising the Lamb, the Light, endlessly.

WILL IT BE DARK when we close our eyes?
Must we embark on That Final Voyage
with apprehension and dread fearing what's ahead?
Banish anxiety!
For it shall not be that we sail into the sunset
but into the Splendid Sunrise
not into the foreboding of a growing night
but a dawning light. Not with sighs
but with a celebration shout Hallelujah!
God has provided the Lamb: THE LIGHT!
God has answered our fear: IT'S BRIGHT!


Wednesday, March 11, 2009



“Grandma, it was such fun to go into the studio at “Uncle Rick’s radio station” and record a promo!”

“That was a very important thing to do. You reminded those who listen to our Christian radio station to join in prayer at 8:55 every morning.”

“Yeah, and maybe MILLIONS of people heard me on WTRM-fm, and MILLIONS will be praying together for whatever problems people phoned into the radio station.”

“Well, that’s possible. Not only does our strong signal reach the surrounding four states but by satellite uplink anyone can listen anywhere in the world through their computers on the Internet.”

“Wow! Even in China and Africa? What do you call that, Grandma?”

“That is called ‘streaming audio’ and people can listen to the live programming and Christian music day and night. Do you remember what you said on the promo?”

“Cindy on the staff wrote it for me and I just had to read it—with expression, she said. We practiced a lot in the studio and I wore a big headset and sat on a tall chair in front of a big desk with lots of push buttons and levers.”

“I took your picture, remember? And another picture when the on-air announcers Rich and Sam lifted you in the air and made you as tall as they are.”

“Yeah, and I told the listeners to tune in everyday and pray for the people whose prayer requests Sam reads just before 9 a.m. That was exactly the time when you used to take me to school, Grandma, and we listened and prayed. Well—you had to pray with your eyes open ‘cause you were driving!”

“And the station gave you a CD with your promo on it. Didn’t you take it to show at school? The station aired it several times a day for quite a few weeks to remind everyone.”

“Grandma, God doesn’t answer every prayer, does He? I prayed for Aunt Nellie and she didn’t get well. She died.”

“Jeffrey, God hears every prayer and answers every prayer. There are many verses in the Bible that tell us that. Jesus taught us to ask His Father, God, for what we need and to use His name.”

“What does ‘use His Name’ mean?”

“Do you remember how the prayer starts that Jesus taught us to pray?”

“Yes. ‘Our Father who art in Heaven….’”

“Do you go to ask your friend’s father or some stranger for something you want?”

“No, I ask my own Daddy. My friend’s Daddy doesn’t know me and isn’t responsible for me. He wouldn’t give me anything.”

“Right. Now that you have Jesus in your heart and have been baptized, Jesus’ Father, God, is your Father too. And you can say ‘Our Father’ too. God is Jesus’ Father and your Father. You are a member of His family. Your Father God is responsible to take care of you. And you have the privilege to ask whatever you need as if Jesus Himself was asking for it. That’s what ‘in Jesus’ Name’ means. God would always give Jesus what He asked because Jesus did everything to please His Father.”

“I think I understand. But still, it doesn’t seem like I get everything I ask God for when I pray.”

“Your Daddy doesn’t give you everything you ask for either, does he?”

“Well, no.”

“Look at it this way, Jeffrey. I said God always hears our prayer, and since He hears us, He always answers. But he answers in any of three ways, just like your Daddy does. He can answer YES, or NO, or WAIT. Has your Daddy ever told you to WAIT when you asked him something?”

“Lots of times.”

“And has Daddy ever said NO?”

“Lots and lots and LOTS of times!”

“God has good reasons for how He answers you, just like your Daddy does. Sometimes it is just not the right time for you to have something or to go somewhere or do something. Sometimes you don’t understand that what you are asking for is really not the best thing God has for you, and that He has something better. Sometimes God is so happy to say YES just like the verse that Jesus’ follower, John, wrote, ‘…whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do the things that are pleasing in His sight.’”

“Hm. Daddy is more likely to say YES if I’m doing what he asked me to, or if I stop doing what he told me not to do.”

“There’s a lot more to learn about praying that we’ll talk about some other time. Praying is more than asking God for stuff. Or asking that everything would turn out nice. It is also telling God how much you love Him, telling Him how much He means to you, and thanking Him for everything. Oh Jeffrey, I am always so happy to listen to you pray at mealtime! You thank God in your own words for so many things most people don’t even notice—like the sunshine, the crops that grow, the seeds, the flowers, the birds—everything you can think of. I can just imagine God smiling at you when you pray and loving on you!”

“So when we prayed for Aunt Nellie to get well, God said NO because He knew that it would be better for her to go to Heaven and be with Him and get really healed there, right? We should be glad for that answer and thank God that she doesn’t have any more pain, right?”

“Oh Jeffrey, you understand things a lot better than many grown ups. When we pray, let’s just trust God to answer our prayers in the way He knows is best, ‘cause He knows everything.”


Monday, March 2, 2009


Dear Gloria, (pseudonym)

I know how heartrending it is to keep vigil at the bedside of a friend or loved one who is standing at the edge of mortal life preparing to step over into the Eternal Dimension. I have been there with many whom I have loved through the years. Truly, it becomes even more difficult.

Your friend Tanya’s invisible G.A. (Guardian Angel) has been with her 24/7 ever since she was born, probably since she was conceived. Jesus said that the angels of children always behold the face of His Father, and there is no reason to believe they abandon us as we grow up. We may have even more need of their watchful services!

We can give our G.A. a name if we wish—I named mine “Val” for Valiant—Why? It just seemed right the first time I thought of it. Tanya’s angel was assigned by God to care for her all the days of her life and then to conduct her safely to and through the gates of Heaven into the presence of God. Sometimes we have heard that one’s angel becomes visible to the person who is dying. Tanya will have an excited "Welcoming Committee" of angels and saints and those of her family, friends, and ancestors who have gone on before. Perhaps, (but there is no revealed Christian teaching on this) her angel might remain with her as her familiar, long time friend and guide while she joyfully explores all the adventures of her new life without pain and limitations and without the time-factor. That would be cool!

I hope you won't mind my sharing the prayers below which you might find meaningful as you visit Tanya in hospice care. (I will go with you by my prayers for her although I have never met her and I live far away.) Sometimes in these emotion-packed situations we don't know what to pray or what to say to our friend or loved one. Of course we can and should pray our "homemade prayers” for them as the occasion requires, but to have something in hand that Christians have prayed through the ages is helpful too for our minds and hearts to focus on.

The Divine Mercy Chaplet I mentioned is usually sung to a beautiful melody you can hear every day at 3 p.m. on the Catholic TV channel EWTN, but you may simply pray these words on someone's behalf:

Eternal Father, we offer you the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity
of Your dearly beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ,
in Atonement for (our) (Tanya’s) sins
and for those of the whole world.
For the sake of His sorrowful passion, (Repeated)
Have mercy on (her) and on the whole world (Repeated)
Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One,
Have mercy on (her) and on the whole world. (Repeated)

If this is prayed for her as her spirit leaves for Heaven, in faith we believe that she receives great mercy from our Lord for her final journey to life after life.

Here is a prayer we may pray for someone in time of sickness and suffering:

Lord Jesus Christ, by your patience in suffering you hallowed earthly pain
and gave us the example of obedience to your Father's will.
Be near (name) in (her) time of weakness and pain;
Sustain (her) by your grace, that (her) strength and courage may not fail.
Heal (her) if it be your will
and help (her) always to believe that what happens to (her) on earth
is of little account if you hold (her) in eternal life,
my Lord and my God.

When someone has already passed into Eternity, we may pray:

Loving and merciful God,
we entrust our (brother/sister) to your mercy.
You loved him/her greatly in this life:
now that he/she is freed from all its cares,
give him/her happiness and peace forever.
The old order has passed away;
welcome him/her now into paradise
where there will be no more sorrow,
no more weeping or pain,
but only peace and joy
with Jesus, your Son, and the Holy Spirit
forever and ever. Amen

And the familiar hymn that is always so meaningful in times like these:

Precious Lord, take my hand, lead me on, let me stand,
I am tired, I am weak, I am worn.
Through the storm, through the night, lead me on to the light,
Take my hand, Precious Lord, lead me home.

When my way grows drear, Precious Lord, linger near,
When my life is almost gone,
Hear my cry, hear my call, Hold my hand lest I fall,
Take my hand, Precious Lord, lead me home.

When the darkness appears, and the night draws near,
And the day is past and gone,
At the river I stand, Guide my feet, hold my hand,
Take my hand, Precious Lord, lead me home.

Whether a person is conscious or not when we pray for them is irrelevant. Their spirit may be very alert while their body and its senses are receding, even if they are on life support or possibly pronounced “brain dead.” Speak to them, touch them, hold their hand, pray for them, sing to them and read the Scriptures to them as if they understood—and leave it all to God.

May the Lord bless you for your love and compassion for your friend Tanya. Jesus said, "Inasmuch as you do something for the least of My children, you do it unto ME."

Suppose we can’t be present with our friend who is dying because we live at a distance? Our prayers for him or her are not in the least diminished or less efficacious as we direct them to our Heavenly Father through the intercession of our One Mediator, Jesus Christ, and by the power of the Holy Spirit. There is no time or space in God. Our prayers reach our friend at once, faster than the speed of light or through cyberspace by e-mail. Our friend in need receives them instantaneously and is strengthened.

May we lift our hearts to the Lord in faith declaring, “Jesus, I trust in You!”

Your friend, Leona