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Holy Family

“The Christian community is called to help these persons live out their situation in a Christian manner and in fidelity to their marriage bond which remains indissoluble.”   

Catechism of the Catholic Church, #164



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Blog - 2016 Entries

Date: 12/21/2016

Lighting Candles

Here we are already only days before Christmas. I had hoped when I wrote on December 1st that I would be writing weekly again, but winter illnesses have a way of taking much of our time. I could fret over it or give thanks to God for giving us bodies that have the ability to heal and return to health!

This is such a beautiful season, and that is one thing that is so great about the Church, we don’t just have one Holy Day to celebrate but a whole Season of special feast days. The world can offer one day of Christmas, and in some places it doesn’t even do that, but one day is not enough for so great a Feast!

Imagine, that a God so big as to not fit even within the universe, becomes so small as to be a Babe!! Becoming small is one of the great challenges for us as Christians. We are constantly being bombarded in our culture to become somebody special by building up our bodies, buying the right car, having all the techy toys that are available—these are the things that inflate us. But Christmas is a reminder that small is great!

Because we are divorced, this time of year always seems to bring with it some large challenges with family. This year by following our Savior, let’s work at humility regarding our spouse and others this year. Perhaps we need to not insist on things being a certain way, maybe we can be generous with our visitation time for our spouse with the children. Whatever it is, no one needs to know but Jesus, it can be our gift to Him. Our great offer of humility for His Littleness.

I wish you and your loved ones a very Happy and Holy Christmas Season, and pray that 2017 will bring you many special blessings.

Keep in mind all through the Season--Jesus is in your heart today, tomorrow and always.

God Bless.

You can respond to these blogs through email to: gthompson@solitudemyriam.org


Date: 12/1/2016

Lighting Candles

I hardly know where to begin. My last blog was November 1st and much has happened since. In the U.S. we have had a presidential election and Thanksgiving. In the Church, we have ended the Year of Mercy and begun the Season of Advent.

But as big as some of these events have been, in my own life--I lost a friend. For several years now I have been a caregiver for an elderly gentleman. He entered eternal life just a couple of weeks ago.

Twenty years ago after my youngest left for college, I sold my house and moved in with dear friends, Frank and Marie. They were an older couple, about the same age as my parents, and were so helpful and supportive of the children and I after the divorce. Because I was alone, it seemed quite natural to share a home with them, we also shared the same faith and same ideals.

When Marie became ill, Frank and I cared for her at home until she died over 12 years ago. At that time, he asked me to stay on with him so he could remain in his home. For most of those years he has done quite well, but the last few years, there has been a steady decline in his health. He entered eternal life on November 6th and joined his beloved Marie.

So, here I am again, starting over. I had always planned to give more time to the ministry of Solitude Myriam so I have asked the Good Lord to lead me in making the right decisions in that direction. This is not the same kind of new beginning that we have to make after a divorce, but isn’t life so full of new beginnings?

Whether we are beginning a new career move or just an exercise program, we have to adjust to different challenges. I am thankful for the opportunity to have given a part of my life to two wonderful people. I know they are here with me as I move forward seeking God’s Will for the next part of the journey.

May these and the souls of all the faithful departed rest in peace, Amen.

God Bless.

You can respond to these blogs through email to: gthompson@solitudemyriam.org


Date: 11/1/2016

Lighting Candles

Today is All Saints Day, tomorrow All Souls Day. In November Holy Mother Church draws our attention to those who have gone before us. We celebrate with our Family of Faith who have reached the heights of Heaven, and then we offer prayers and sacrifices for those who are still detained for awhile in Purgatory.

Purgatory is such a great teaching of the Church. I am sure most people would not look at it that way, but I do. If we had to be in a state of grace and ready for eternity at the moment of death, many people might not make it to heaven. We strive to lead lives according to the will of God but we certainly fall short every day.

God knows we love Him and He desires for us to be with Him forever, however, because He is total Purity and Love, most of us are not ready to be in His Presence. Purgatory gives us a chance to get ready by a process of purification. I find that very hopeful. God will take my desire for Him and bring me into His Heavenly Kingdom when I’m ready. Some people might be ready when they die, but for the majority of us, purgatory gives us an opportunity to “freshen up a bit”.

Think about it in terms of dealing with our spouses in divorce. Hopefully, we are praying for them and desiring their salvation. Well, we could look at the way they are right now and think that we might not really want to be with them for all eternity. But in the same way that we have a chance through purification to get ready to be the person God fully created us to be, so also they will get the same chance.

When we see our spouses in heaven they will be the persons God created them to be! We will fall in love with them again, but in a different elevated sort of way. All the things that transpired during the painful years of separation and divorce, will be gone. We will see them in a totally new light. We will see them with the Light of Christ.

So, let’s light a candle and pray for those who have gone ahead of us and are still detained in purgatory. And let’s think about getting as ready as we can be ourselves for the end of our own lives. As hopeful as purgatory is, I am sure we would like to stay there for as short a time as possible and move quickly on to HEAVEN!

God Bless.

You can respond to these blogs through email to: gthompson@solitudemyriam.org


Date: 10/24/2016

Our Lady of the Rosary

I thought I would start out the week by writing a blog entry before I get bogged down with all sorts of other things. I feel so much better when I can get right into my plans and get things accomplished.

It doesn’t usually happen that way though, does it? Life seems to interrupt our plans. We tend to think that we should have a life exempt from difficulties and interruptions. We make plans and then we get upset because things happen.

Divorce is one of those things, a very big thing! The separation is a rupturing of life as we know it. Everything is turned upside down, we feel as though the rug has been pulled out from under us. We have to function and do normal things but there is nothing normal about this new way of living. We had a plan for our future and now it’s gone.

How do we begin again? We have to remember that it will take time. There is no simple solution and no easy way. However, there are some things that can help.

First and foremost, we need to depend on faith. If your faith was in the back seat for many years, it needs to be pushed to the front. Depending on God’s love and faithfulness in the coming months and years will be essential.

You will need solid support. It might come in the form of counseling, or the company of friends and family. Don’t underestimate the value of the sacramental graces from Penance and the Eucharist. Going to confession often will enable you to keep a lid on your anger and to assist you in showing mercy to your spouse.

Having to reconstruct your life after divorce will be one of the most difficult challenges you will face. Be patient and kind with yourself and allow God to assist you in your plans for the future. In the beginning, it will be hard enough to just put one foot in front of the other, but as time goes on, He will begin to unfold a new plan for you and your family.

Yes, it is new territory that you are charting, but He is there with you and wants your happiness and success. Always remember one thing—He is only as far as a prayer away!

God Bless.

You can respond to these blogs through email to: gthompson@solitudemyriam.org


Date: 10/21/2016

Our Lady of the Rosary

Tomorrow is the feast day for St. John Paul II. What a joy it is to know that he has been canonized and now numbered among the saints of the Church. I hope someday he receives the title John Paul the Great!

I feel connected to him in a special way. Although I was raised in the church, I left early on in my adult life. My husband and I were married in the church but there was no spiritual attachment on my part at that time. However, around the time my son was ready for catechetical instruction, I began thinking again about my faith. Up to that time, I knew God was there but we were not on speaking terms, at least for my part.

In 1981, God’s grace was more seriously working its way into my heart. I remember one day being particularly distraught because I was not really sure that God was there for me. I took the bible and asked Him to tell me if it was true. I opened to the call of Jeremiah: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you….” (Jer 1:5).

I was so startled that He not only heard me but was showing me through the passage that it really was true! During the next 48 hours though, I wrestled within my soul to accept and believe, and finally 2 days later on May 13, 1981 I opened myself to grace, surrendered my life to Him and actually felt His Presence!

That day was also the day Pope John Paul II was shot. I believe, to this day, that the graces I received that day in May 35 years ago, were a result of an outpouring of grace upon the world, and the church in particular, because of the sufferings of the Holy Father.

We have such strong advocates in Heaven for us. The Church Triumphant constantly intercedes for us before the throne of God! Entrust your cares, your pain, your life to Him who loves you more than you can even imagine. You may be dealing with the struggles of life being separated from your earthly spouse, but, as the Church reminds us, you are never alone or without intercession from those who have gone before us marked with the sign of faith!

God Bless.

You can respond to these blogs through email to: gthompson@solitudemyriam.org


Date: 10/7/2016

Our Lady of the Rosary

This past weekend I had the opportunity to visit family in the New York area, it had been a couple of years since I was able to go. How important it is to do so!

Pope Francis speaks often of the family and, of course, his Apostolic Letter Amoris Laetitia is all about the family. One of the things that is so devasting about divorce is the break-up of the family unit. It is not just the rupturing of the relationship of the married couple but it changes the dynamics of the whole family unit.

How painful it is to sit at the dinner table in those early days after the separation and literally feel the loss of the member who has chosen to leave. Whether you are the remaining spouse or one of the children, I am sure you have been there and know how difficult it is.

It takes a long time for sure to build a new version of the family from the broken pieces left by the divorce. It does come of course, but it takes hard work and lots and lots of prayer!!

Pope Francis speaks about the burdens so many families have to carry. If you are there right now, please know that it will get better, that you are not alone. Reach out for help. Know that you are in the prayers of groups like Solitude Myriam who pray daily for all married couples and those experiencing separation and divorce.

Your family unit might not be what it was, but a new unit can be formed as each member comes to healing and growth. Joy and happiness can return, you and your children can once again feel a part of a loving family.

God has no problem remaking anything, all we have to do is give Him all the pieces. After all, He made Adam from the earth and blew life into him. He can surely blow the Breath of Life into your family too!

God Bless.

You can respond to these blogs through email to: gthompson@solitudemyriam.org


Date: 10/7/2016

Our Lady of the Rosary

On this feast day today of Our Lady of the Rosary I thought it might be good to talk about the Blessed Mother’s role in our lives, especially for those of us who are divorced.

I left the Church shortly after my marriage in my 20s and returned about 10 years later. I began visiting a parish at that time and stopping in during the week just to sit there and think. It was May and a group of parishioners were getting together before the noon Mass to pray the rosary. I joined them but just sat and listened. After a few days, one of the older women came over and brought me a rosary. She said: “I noticed you did not have one”.

Because I was a new revert, I had not yet adopted the practice of the daily rosary nor was I sure how much I needed Mary’s influence in my life. However, I was very touched by this woman’s thoughtfulness and I did enjoy being there with them when they prayed it each day.

That evening as I was ironing, I reached in my pocket for a tissue and felt the rosary beads she had given me at noon. I was alone, my husband was at work and the children were sleeping. Somehow I felt compelled to kneel down on the floor next to the ironing board and say a rosary. It was fairly pitiful from the perspective of “doing it right” because I didn’t know the mysteries and could only remember the Hail Mary’s and the Our Father’s. But to this day, I believe it was one of the best rosaries I ever prayed.

Since then the Rosary has become daily practice and the Blessed Mother has truly become my spiritual Mother. Years later during the divorce, I would come to see how much I needed that connection with Our Lady and was so thankful that she entered my life when she did. (Of course, she was always there, but I didn’t know it!)

When I was first alone as a single parent, I certainly clung to her, especially to help me as a mom. I still cling to her now. There is no adequate way to describe her importance in our daily lives. I thank Jesus often for the gift of His Mother, and the rosary is a special way to honor this gift of her presence in our lives.

No matter where you are on your journey, there is no better guide for your travels than Our Lady. She knows the most direct and safest path to her Son.

God bless.

You can respond to these blogs through email to: gthompson@solitudemyriam.org


Date: 10/1/2016

St. Therese of the Child Jesus - The Little Flower

Today is the feast day of St. Therese of the Child Jesus (better known as The Little Flower). I came to know and love her through her autobiography The Story of a Soul. At the time I did not think that her “little way” really applied to me, I guess I thought it was too simple and made for holier souls.

Over the years I have read many books about her and come to understand so much better what her little way really is, and the fact that it is for everyone!

One of the books that I especially like is by Fr. Jean C.J. d’Elbee entitled I Believe In Love. I have read it many, many times and used it during retreats as well. He explains her teaching in a way that is both inspiring and practical. We come to understand, be sure of, and live more fully, God’s Great Love for us!

During the early years of living with the challenges of divorce, understanding the great love of God for each one of us is not something that comes easily. In fact, it is quite difficult to see yourself being loved by anyone, let alone by God! Yet, that is what St. Therese holds out for us. She has such confidence in His Love, not because she was a goody-two-shoes and deserved it, but because He was a loving God. Actually, she saw herself as being a nobody, as someone quite small and insignificant. However, her absolute trust in His great personal love was heroic!

We would do well to follow her little way. To do little things for God with great love as a response to His overwhelming love for us. She was accustomed since her youth to make many small sacrifices throughout the day to give to God. We have many opportunities to do the same thing. Some examples of the sacrifices for those of us dealing with divorce could be: a restrained tongue in dealing with our spouse; praying for him/her even when we don’t feel like it; going the extra mile in being charitable with him/her when we transfer the children or deal with an issue; or just plain acceptance of our state in life each day.

No matter if you already know about her or will learn soon, take this opportunity to adopt her way of life. To learn from this great saint how to live each day in joy and being confident of God’s Love. When we are sure that God loves us, it is much easier to give it away to others!

God Bless.

You can respond to these blogs through email to: gthompson@solitudemyriam.org


Date: 9/16/2016


This past week was the feast day for The Exaltation of the Holy Cross (9/14) and a memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows (9/15). We exalt in the victory His Crucifixion has won for us, and then mourn with Our Lady for the death of her Son.

Much to mull over in thinking about the Cross of Christ. This feast in particular asks us to look at the triumph of the cross, the victory won for us! For those dealing with the aftermath of divorce and are right now in the muck and mire, we do well to remember that the pain of the cross was the event which brought us the joy of the Resurrection.

We too, in dealing with much pain and sorrow, will come to the joy of a new life when the crisis is over. I wonder if the Church gives us this feast apart from the Lenten Season to remind us that the Cross of Christ did not end there. It was the momentous, victorious event that, although horrible in its execution, opened paradise and, through the graces it poured forth, made it possible for us to get there!

None of us planned to be divorced when we got married. In many cases, the divorce was thrust upon us by a spouse wanting to leave, but whatever the circumstances, we had to go through it. At least for me, although it was a time of intense pain, it brought me to a place of healing, joy and hope of which I could not have imagined. That is what I think the Exaltation is all about.

The Church also reminds us on the following day to remember that it was because of the sacrifice of Christ that the victory was possible. Mary is there always at the foot of the Cross. She was there on Calvary as Our Lady of Sorrows and I believe she is here today with us in our pain and sorrow. As she stood by the side of Christ, so she will stand by our side and be with us as we walk every painful step toward the joy of resurrection. She will never walk away or leave us abandoned. She will be close to us always.

Her motherly love and care will guide us toward that day of renewed life. Yes, she is Our Lady of Sorrows but remember, she is also the Mother of the Resurrected Lord! Have a blessed week!

You can respond to these blogs through email to: gthompson@solitudemyriam.org


Date: 9/9/2016


I’ve mentioned before about seeking help from a counselor or priest or friend and family member but I thought today I would expand on it a bit. I have had the blessing over the years in receiving assistance from all of the above at one time or another in my life. There is no way to measure the value that good support is worth!

God did not create us to be alone, after all He is a community of Persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit! When He created Adam, He did not leave him alone but gave Eve to him as his wife, soul mate, and companion. And they were to be fruitful and multiply--He wanted families upon families to cover the earth!

So many people today believe that they need no one. They say: I can do it by myself, I don’t need to depend on anyone, I’m my own person. Well, that is not God’s Plan. That’s the plan of him who tempted Eve when she was alone. The tempter would like us to stay isolated because he does his best work on us when we are left to ourselves. He chatters in our ears, he wears us down, he leaves us discouraged. We want to give up when the going is tough!

When dealing with some rough times, especially going through divorce, we are so vulnerable to the voice of the discouraging one. He might say: You really are not loveable, You are destined to live a life without love, You will never make it, You will be alone forever!

Never give in to those temptations. Reach out to those who can assure you that God is still there, that you are not alone, that you are loved and loveable!! And you are not just loved a little bit, but infinitely by Him who created you!!

Reach out when you need it. Don’t listen to the lie! God loves you unconditionally, intimately and forever!!

You can respond to these blogs through email to: gthompson@solitudemyriam.org


Date: 9/3/2016


I don’t know about you, but I have acquired a lot of stuff over the years and it’s time to clear it out! You know, those things that you really don’t want to throw away so they just “live” in boxes everywhere--cabinets, closets, attics, basements and garages!

I’ve done a fair amount of weeding through things, especially during moves, but stuff has a way of accumulating and accumulating. It feels good to get rid of things, but it is so difficult to take the time to do it. There always seems to be something more pressing to do!

It’s the same way in the other areas of our life, most especially spiritually. How often we are hampered from growing spiritually because we fail to weed out our emotional closets. Perhaps it is a grudge that we need to let go of? Is there some sin which we want to hang on to? Or maybe anger—deep seated anger from earlier in our lives or from our marriages?

As difficult as it is to deal with some of the interior “stuff”, it is so necessary for our growth and holiness. I would imagine that what we fail to work on here in this life must need to be cleaned up in purgatory. If you live on this earth long enough, you acquire a lot of emotional stuff that has to be released in some way.

If daily prayer is part of your life (and I hope it is), you can do some of the work each day by asking God to help you search through the halls of your interior house and open up some doors that access rooms waiting to be cleared out. The graces of the Sacraments help enormously. The Sacrament of Reconciliation can give you the spiritual assistance you will require to do the more difficult work and the Eucharist will give you the strength you need for the task at hand.

You might even benefit from the help of a good friend or priest or counselor to work through some more sticky “stuff”, but whatever is necessary, it is well worth the time and effort to do the job. If the project seems daunting though, please remember that none of it is possible without God’s Help.

You are never alone in this, He is with you always and will even carry you if necessary!

You can respond to these blogs through email to: gthompson@solitudemyriam.org


Date: 8/26/2016

Theology of the Body

Our group here in Vermont has been watching some DVDs by Christopher West on St. John Paul II’s Theology of the Body (TOB). Christopher, through Ascension Press, has two excellent series: Introduction to TOB and Into the Heart. We are now on the second series.

If you are not familiar with the Holy Father’s collection of talks given over four years early on in his pontificate, I would highly recommend picking up a book or video by a wide range of speakers helping to pass along this tremendous teaching. The actual talks themselves are a bit dense so hearing others explain the text is enormously helpful.

I have come to learn what marriage is really all about. What a beautiful sacrament it is! Being divorced and learning about God’s plan for man and woman, I must admit that I felt cheated to understand this information too late, so to speak. But the more I have had time to study the teaching, I feel so blessed to see God’s Plan for all His children.

It’s so easy after a divorce to have negative feelings about marriage as an institution, let alone a Sacrament. And for those of us who have chosen to remain faithful to our marriage vows and will not marry again, we might think that the whole idea of marriage can be put behind us and we can just move on. But as time goes on, and much healing comes, we thirst to know what God really did have in mind when He created us. What was His Plan from the beginning?

The teaching of TOB though is not just about marriage, it is about our sexuality: Who we are as a man/Who we are as a woman. I strongly suggest that you begin learning about JPII’s inspired teachings. If you are in the throes of divorce right now, perhaps waiting a bit might be better, but you might want to jump in and see his answers to two basic questions about life:

    What does it mean to be human?      What must I do to be happy?

Keep in mind that no matter where you are in your journey, God is right there with you and loves you more than you can ever imagine!

God Bless.

You can respond to these blogs through email to: gthompson@solitudemyriam.org


Date: 8/19/2016


“Wow, I had no idea I was under THAT much stress”! Perhaps we have said it ourselves or heard someone else use the expression. Most often we don’t realize how much stress we are under until the cause of the stress is over. We might know we are dealing with a lot of stress, but have no real idea how much it affects us.

This has happened several times during my own life. Certainly the divorce was one of them, but there were others too. Maybe you have had some difficult times with a job, illness, move, marital problems, friendships, children, neighbors, or a combination of a few smaller things that, taken together, make for a very trying period in your life.

It is so important during those times to stay close to God. We have a tendency to cut our prayer short when we have a rough time calming ourselves down, but we should be increasing our prayer so that we are not pulled in a direction we shouldn’t be going. I wish I could say that I did all the right things, in truth, though, I know I did not. God certainly has patience with us. He knows what it is like for us and, keep in mind, that He is not there as the accuser.

Our adversary is all too happy to beat us up during those times when we are already overloaded. He knows that if we wander a little further away from God that we become easy prey. If you are in one of these situations, make every effort to stay focused on God. If all you can do each day is beg for help, do it. Our Loving Father is ready to give us the graces we need, we have only to ask.

When the trying time is over, it is good to look back and see what we could have done differently. I think as I get older I am managing better, not great, but better than I used to do. The important thing, of course, is that we establish a regular, committed, generous time for God always. If our time for Him is second nature to us, it will be easier to maintain contact during the stressful period. And remember: He loves you. He loved you into existence and will always love you.

Don’t let stress get the best of you, keep that part for Him!

God Bless.

You can respond to these blogs through email to: gthompson@solitudemyriam.org


Date: 8/12/2016


Our security is in Jesus Christ. Right? Is it really? As faithful Christians we profess that Jesus is our Savior. We believe that He died for us and that He sustains us in His Love. We also go through each day knowing that we are His and He is ours, and we gain our security through this knowledge.

However, we also, without realizing it, draw a lot of our security from the good things that are part our lives—savings, home, vehicle, job, loved ones, retirement, and all sorts of other things that we take for granted. We believe that we are not attached to them, but if we were to be stripped of them, life would seem very different for sure.

Our country has experienced in this year alone, a large number of disasters just from the weather. Tornado, flood, and forest fire damage has caused many to lose literally everything. Because their lives were spared, they know instinctively that God saved them. The opportunity for them is to see God as their true security.

Divorce can also be a “disaster” of a different sort. What we knew to be secure—our marriage and family—is gone, or at least it seems gone. The opportunity is there for us also to place our trust and security in Him who loves us beyond all telling. With His help we can regain our security and help our children to do the same.

Many people come back to their faith after a divorce. Others, who already had faith, realize that in time it is strengthened by having to lean on God for their security. I believe that we are always supposed to be living in that state of trust in Him for everything. I strive to do so, but fall short often when life is comfortable.

Because it doesn’t really take much sometimes to upset our trust or security, let’s make an effort each day to let Jesus know that we trust in Him. To consciously make an act of faith every morning and pray: “No matter what happens to me today Lord, my trust and security are in You! Thank you Jesus for Your Faithfulness.”

God Bless.

You can respond to these blogs through email to: gthompson@solitudemyriam.org


Date: 7/22/2016


Waiting. How much of our life is spent waiting--checkout lines in stores, for the computer to reboot, for a street light to change, for the movie to begin, or for life to seem better! We live in time so we judge everything according to time. How long will it be? With young children on a trip, for instance, we always hear: “When will we get there?”

How is it for us? When we are going through some difficult times, are we constantly looking ahead to see when will this be over? Of course, we do. We need to know that life will not be like this forever. We are sure we cannot bear it otherwise. We need some relief.

I remember hearing an audio talk by the late Archbishop Fulton Sheen (now Venerable Fulton Sheen) in which he was describing what a relief it must have been for Jesus to say the words on the Cross: “It is finished”! (Jn 19:30) He could finally return to the Father. He was no longer subject to our human condition. He had paid the price. For it was love that kept Him with us for over 30 years, and it is love that helps us to get through too.

So how do we love during those times when we are waiting and struggling. We love by learning to accept this part of the journey. To say to Jesus: “Please help me put one step in front of the other. Give me please the strength for each new day. Show me how to hang on and not get discouraged. Assist me to fulfill Your will for me today. This challenge seems impossible, but only with You will it be possible. Thank you for what you are doing for me already.” We will then be acknowledging that, yes, we are in this difficult time but we are willing to go forward if only with the grace of God.

We hope and pray of course, that we will see light someday at the end of the tunnel, but we must keep moving forward now. Jesus will be walking with us. He will be our Simon of Cyrene.

On a very practical level, when we have to wait in line or at a traffic light, use the moment to whisper to Jesus—“I know you are here with me, I’m here waiting with You.”

God Bless.

You can respond to these blogs through email to: gthompson@solitudemyriam.org


Date: 7/15/2016


One of the things in this life that is most difficult for the majority of people is the reality that God loves you. I am not speaking here of knowing that God loves His creation, all of His creation in general, but I am suggesting that the average person has a most difficult time in accepting the fact that God loves them--individually, overwhelmingly, intimately and totally.

If you were blessed to grow up in a loving home and receive total acceptance and love from wonderful parents, then this might not be foreign for you. But if your childhood was not that way, then you most likely have struggled as an adult to “feel” the love of God for you. I don’t necessarily mean feel as in warm fuzzies and I don’t mean an intelligent understanding, although that is a help for sure. What I mean is the sense recognition or awareness that God is totally in love with who you are just because you are you!

Many of us thought that we were loved that way when we got married. Not only was that not true for some, but we ourselves might not have been able to love our spouse in the fashion of God’s tremendous love either. If we have been wounded during our lifetime or have hurt others, we must work with the help of God’s grace, to heal and come to wholeness, to become the person He created us to be. Certainly time spent in prayer and with the Sacraments will go a long way, but most of this might come in the form of good confessors, counselors and friends.

I mention this because it seems almost impossible to accept and believe that God loves us if we don’t realize that we are loveable. I believe that we spend a good part of our adult Christian lives coming to accept God’s Love, that total, absolute, eternal love. It certainly becomes easier as we come to be healed of past wounds and struggle to overcome our own faults and failings, but the fact remains that He loves us even during the struggle. He always loves us. Always.

If you are having a hard time with this issue, keep up the fight. Purifying our inner selves is difficult work. St. Paul said toward the end of his life: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith”. 2Tim4:7

Striving for holiness is a life’s work and so incredibly necessary. After all, we will be spending eternity with the One who loves us beyond imagining so the efforts we put forth here will go a long way in preparing us to be ready.

May God bless you in your efforts this week!

You can respond to these blogs through email to: gthompson@solitudemyriam.org


Date: 7/8/2016

Keep It Simple

This week I am reading a book by Fr. Raoul Plus, S.J. entitled Holy Simplicity (www.sophiainstitute.com). I have read and enjoyed a few of his other books so this one seemed to’ jump out’ at me from the bookshop shelves.

In these times of constant noise, busy schedules and very hectic lives, does leading a simple life offer an alternative? Most certainly yes! We forget sometimes that the Son of God Himself led the most simplest of lives. The home in Nazareth was uncomplicated, yet all the while fulfilling the will of the Almighty Father. I don’t believe it was a coincidence that most of Christ’s time on earth was spent this way.

They, of course, did not have TV, cell phones, the internet, and all sorts of electronic devices so we might think that there was not much distraction. Certainly not the distractions that we deal with, right?? But there was the Massacre of the Innocents and the fleeing into another country, the caravans to Jerusalem each year, the demands of daily work and chores, and the normal struggles of living as a poor family.

I feel challenged to lead a more simple life. A simple life is one focused on God. When we are dealing with difficulties in our lives, especially the painful times of wounded hearts, we tend to focus on them. Making a conscious effort to move our thoughts from ourselves to God will, in itself, simplify our lives.

I am not trying to make light of our struggles by presenting a Pollyanna approach, but I believe that turning our attention to God and away from our feelings, anxieties, and worries will ultimately help us to quiet down and allow the grace of God to assist us in practicing this peace of soul, this holy simplicity as Fr. Plus suggests.

It does require humility though. That, of course, is the basis for the simple life. I read a quote once that said: “Humility is not thinking less of oneself, but thinking of oneself less”. If we are concentrating all our attention on ourselves, we cannot focus on God.

In the home in Nazareth, the Blessed Mother set the example for this way of life. Let us go to her for guidance in following this path to God. After all, she taught Jesus as a child to live this way and must have been a wonderful example to St. Joseph too. May she help you to Keep It Simple and be closer to God!

God Bless.

You can respond to these blogs through email to: gthompson@solitudemyriam.org


Date: 7/1/2016

Take a Load Off

Last week I had the opportunity to visit the Divine Mercy Shrine in Stockbridge, MA while taking a few days vacation. The Chaplet has been part of my personal spiritual life for quite a long time now, so it was particularly special to spend a day there walking the grounds, attending Mass, reciting the Chaplet, and venerating the relics of St. Faustina. I also brought the intentions of all of you and gave them to Jesus.

It was really great to spend vacation time with some dear friends, and it gave me refreshment of soul, mind and body. How important it is for us to take a break from our normal routines, especially during this time of year. Not everyone can get away easily, but we can all incorporate some leisure time into our daily schedules.

I’m one of those people who have always needed to find balance. Over the years I have learned that my home life, my spiritual life and my responsibilities all benefit when I have everything in its proper place—including, and especially, relaxation time.

Although it was difficult in the early years of living as a single-parent family, I did manage to make sure we took some time away from the stress of everyday life. In retrospect, I see that it certainly could have been more often because I surely needed it (and the children as well); but when nerves were frazzled, money tight and hearts were aching, it just seemed like another stress to plan a day or two away!

Has it been awhile since you have taken a break from the routine? Are you ready to have some fun with the kids? Is it time for some rest and relaxation? If possible, arrange some time in the coming months to take a breather from the everyday routine.

Remember to take Jesus with you on vacation. He enjoys seeing us happy, relaxed and rejuvenated! The break will not erase all your difficulties, but it might just give you the added boost you need to face the challenges again.

God Bless.

You can respond to these blogs through email to: gthompson@solitudemyriam.org


Date: 6/22/2016


As I get older and in a new phase in my life, I am amazed how quickly time goes by. When I was first separated 25 years ago, I thought time did not move at all! It was all in the present and all painful! I remember thinking “will there come a time when it will be different from this”?

Well, yes. I look at the person I was then and I can see her now with a much better perspective than I had at the time. She was hurt, for sure, but she also had some growing up to do. It is also easier now to look at my spouse from this distance. Were there clearly things that were wrong and hurtful? Yes, but I can see that I reacted in some hurtful ways myself.

I have written before about showing mercy, however, by bringing it up again, I feel a bit like Pope Francis who speaks so often about mercy. But mercy certainly is the key for living lives in freedom. In this Year of Mercy I believe there is an extra portion of grace available for us.

Holding grudges or harboring resentment prevents us from being free. We believe somehow that we are giving that person what they justly deserve but in reality, we are the ones who become bound. We restrict our own freedom.

As we know, God created us to be free. Our culture today spouts freedom all the time telling us that we should be free to do whatever we want. However, God gave us freedom so that we would freely choose to love Him and through that love we will desire to live His commands in freedom.

I have heard people say: “Well, he/she doesn’t deserve to be forgiven because if I forgive, it will let him/her off the hook”! It does seem that way looking at the situation without God in the equation. After all, we think “when someone does something hurtful they should pay the price”. But God has already paid the price through His Son. Jesus paid the price for me and for all people for all ages.

I am certainly not saying it is easy or quick in coming, but we can, this year especially, be actively pursuing the freedom for which we were created! When we choose to forgive we are giving the person and the situation freely over to Jesus. We choose to let Him deal with them and us in the best way possible—His Way.

God Bless.

You can respond to these blogs through email to: gthompson@solitudemyriam.org


Date: 6/8/2016

Mercy and Grace

It’s easy to see in reading the news that so many people in our society are in need of God’s Merciful Love. Listening to the Prayers of the Faithful on Sunday we hear about many petitions, from the homeless and poor to persecuted Christians all over the world. The world seems to be crying out for God’s Mercy.

Pope Francis is trying to convey that message to us. Every time he speaks, he mentions it. I receive a Vatican news service in my email every morning, and consistently, day in and day out, Our Holy Father says that mercy must be the hallmark of our lives as Christians.

So how do we practice mercy in our own little corner of the world? Of course, it starts at home and home for us who are divorced is with our separated spouse first of all. How difficult it is to be merciful when we are hurting! We want to make sure that they also hurt. After all, we believe that it is all their fault and so they deserve to be in pain too!

I’ve heard from some people who have been through AA that they have an expression—Fake it till you make it. The theory being that even if you don’t feel a certain way, do it anyway because eventually you will get there. Well, we could also use the same principle in regards to mercy. We may not feel like being merciful to our spouse, but we know that it is the loving thing to do so. Eventually, as time goes on and healing comes, we will see the wisdom of this action.

However, it is not possible for us to be merciful on our own! We can only do so with the grace of God. No matter how much we muster up enough goodness, we just can’t do it. To be loving and forgiving requires the strength that comes from the Holy Spirit. God will provide it for us but we must ask Him. Sometimes, it is an enormous act of the will, just to ask Him for help, let alone actually being loving and forgiving. That’s okay, we can go about it one step at a time.

Tonight when you say your prayers, ask the Holy Spirit to help you in this area of your life. As He shows mercy towards us for our sins, may we be able to give mercy to our spouse.

God Bless.

You can respond to these blogs through email to: gthompson@solitudemyriam.org


Date: 5/31/2016

Broken Pieces

“There is only one relationship in all the world that is a Sacrament”. I heard this statement as I listened to a webinar last week entitled “Marriage and Family through the lens of Amoris Laetitia.” Three panelists spoke about the Holy Father’s new apostolic exhortation The Joy of Love. The statement was commented on by one of the panelists and it really struck me.

There are many relationships for each individual—child/parent, sibling, parishioner/priest, friend, spouse. But of all the important relationships in our life, only one is a Sacrament. How important God planned for this relationship to be!! And we know from the book of Genesis that He commanded us: “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife, and they shall become one flesh (Gen 2:24).”

As divorced men and women we might be asking ourselves: So how do we deal with the rupture of that relationship, the failure of this great Sacrament? First of all, we turn to God and beg Him come to our aid. Actually, we plead with Him to give us the grace to deal with every little step. We cry out in pain and beg Him to show us how to go forward. Most importantly, we surrender to Him the broken relationship.

We would have wanted to give Him a good marriage but we have to go to Him with what we have--and what we have is broken pieces. As our loving and tender Father, He picks up every little shattered piece and holds it in His Hands to reshape it into a new image.

We may never have the same relationship again, but He can (and does) return to us a joy of life that we never could have imagined. He heals our hearts, teaches us to forgive, and, in the end, gives us peace and joy. Nothing is ever wasted with God! No piece is ever lost nor is anything forgotten, all our desires lay open to Him.

Give Him what you have and allow God to be God! God Bless.

You can respond to these blogs through email to: gthompson@solitudemyriam.org


Date: 5/24/2016

Broken Heart

There’s so much going on at this time of year: family gatherings, picnics, graduations, weddings and reunions. When we are dealing with the pain of divorce, some of the events that we would normally look forward to become sources of stress and even more pain.

Seeing family members or friends whom we have not seen for awhile means having to answer questions or explain what has happened. If we must go, we try to dodge the comments by changing the subject or keeping the conversation moving in a different direction. Sometimes we just decide to stay home.

Whatever might be ahead in the coming weeks and months, allow yourself some time to think about how you might deal with conversations. Maybe a few simple responses might suffice and keep the pressure off. For instance, “Yes it’s true, we are separated. It has been a very difficult time for me and for the children, so I really would prefer not to discuss it, but your prayers would be a great help. Thanks.” Or “I can’t say much about it now, it’s too painful to discuss here but perhaps at a later time it would be very good to get together again. Please keep us both in your prayers.”

You can respond to these blogs through email to: gthompson@solitudemyriam.org


Date: 5/16/2016

Holy Spirit

The Easter Season ended yesterday but now that the Holy Spirit has come with the Feast of Pentecost, we go forward pushed by the Wind of the Spirit living our lives as flames of love! Really?? That’s what we hope for but sometimes (most of the time) it seems as though we are being dragged instead of riding on the wind, and the flames of love look more like little dampened sparks.

So, how do we try to live our lives on fire with God’s Love? First of all, we need to remember that feelings don’t have a lot to do with it. Love is a decision. We go forward each day beginning with an act of the will in the morning to follow Christ. Secondly, we pray. Without prayer that little spark cannot be enkindled. It need not be the prayer of some great saint, but some heartfelt time with Jesus--giving thanks, presenting our petitions, asking for help for the day.

Next, we accept and deal with the duties of our state in life. This is no small task. These duties are quite varied encompassing so many different aspects of our life and so different for each person. Am I faithful to my spouse, whether or not he/she has been faithful to me? Do I take the time to nurture my children, even though I may be hurting or busy. It’s difficult to do, but possible with God’s Help. If the responsibility of a job might be a duty, am I a good employee. And the list goes on.

Most people think that there should be a great amount of zeal in dealing with the everyday ups and downs. If the zeal is not there, then we must be doing something wrong. Once in a while, we feel a desire to do great things, or at least little things with great zeal, but most of the time we plod along. We must remember (and remind ourselves often if need be) that the Holy Spirit is still there, still doing His Best Work in us, and still inspiring us to good, whether we feel Him or not.

The disciples after Pentecost went off on fire to convert the then known world because they received an extraordinary outpouring of the Holy Spirit. We go off each day with our Holy Spirit sparks to meet the daily duties of life in our little corner of the world too. And we pray that our small sparks can be fanned into giant flames for the salvation of this world today. Come Holy Spirit, transform us in Your Love! Amen! Alleluia!

You can respond to these blogs through email to: gthompson@solitudemyriam.org


Date: 5/11/2016


So often in our lives, we define time by some life event: “it was two years after my first child was born”; “it was right after my favorite aunt died”; “it was just months after my conversion”; or “it’s been that way since the divorce”. Why is that? They were significant events and our lives were not to be the same again. A birth or conversion, of course, is much different than a divorce, but all have dramatic effects.

How long has it been since you have really let yourself think about your divorce? Better yet, how long has it been since you have let yourself feel the emotional effects of the divorce? Are you in the early painful stages, when feelings are raw, tears flow easily, and anger is at the surface? Or has it been years and still some of the anger or deep pain remain? How best to deal with it?

It is similar to dealing with grief. There are those times, for instance, when we seem to go along and do “okay” most of the time, but then all of a sudden, we react strongly to something that really doesn’t warrant a strong reaction. Or we stay busy but then realize that something is bothering us but we don’t know what it is. Maybe we are frequently snappy with others, especially those close to us. The world thinks we should just get over it and we wonder why we can’t!

The months and years after divorce need special attention. It is important to take the time to allow ourselves to think about it and feel what emotions emerge. Are we angry, yet again or still? Are we feeling overly burdened with care of the children? Is it the finances that have us stressed? Are we just deeply hurt? Is being alone too difficult day in and day out?

Don’t stuff the feelings. Allow yourself to be with them. Get them out. Write them down. Cry. Take them to prayer. Talk to a trusted friend or counselor. Go for a walk. Go to confession. Take a run. Seek whatever kind of help you need to move beyond them, but don’t bury them. They will only come up later when they are not welcome.

Does Jesus understand each and every situation? Absolutely! Does He know your pain and your struggles? You bet! Open your angry or hurting or lonely heart to Him, even if you feel ugly about how you feel. He will understand you, but most importantly, He will love you! There is no quick fix and our emotions are our emotions, however, with Jesus it is infinitely easier than without Him.

You can respond to these blogs through email to: gthompson@solitudemyriam.org


Date: 5/3/2016

Virgin Mary

It’s the month of May! Not only does it mean that we will soon have summer (especially for those of us who live in northern climates!), but it is dedicated to Our Lady.

As a child I fondly remember the May Crownings, but by the time high school was over I thought they were outdated. And after a number of years away from the Church, I was surprised to learn that the rosary and devotion to Mary were still being practiced many years after Vatican II. After my conversion though, I took up the practice of the rosary. I was quite rusty and I know I missed prayers, but my heart was in it and the practice soon became daily.

My love for the Blessed Mother grew slowly and steadily. Because my childhood vision of her was the “plaster statue” image, it took time to begin to see her as a real person. I was a mom so I started thinking of her mothering Jesus, doing chores, getting meals, soothing bruised knees. During the divorce, I know that I continued to pray the rosary but more as an obligation rather than any real sense of devotion. Besides, I wasn’t sure she would understand. How wrong I was!!

Then some friends and I read and discussed a book titled The Echo of God by Fr. Lance Harlow. He clarified St. Louis de Montfort’s True Devotion regarding a Consecration to Jesus through Mary, putting it into more modern language. We all decided to undertake the preparation and consecrated ourselves on the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord that next year. My relationship to Mary then changed dramatically.

I began to write to her each day. To share my life with all its anxieties, difficulties, and prayer intercessions; but also the many blessings, graces, joys, and thanksgivings. She became more real every day. She became a true friend and my Mother.

Do you pray the rosary? Is she alive for you? Do you have a real relationship with her? If you don’t pray the rosary, get out some old forgotten beads and get started again! If you are praying the rosary, consider reading a wonderful book called 33 Days to Morning Glory by Fr. Michael Gaitely, MIC giving a different, inspiring approach to St. Louis’ True Devotion preparation.

May Our Lady walk daily with you on your journey wherever life takes you. God Bless.

You can respond to these blogs through email to: gthompson@solitudemyriam.org


Date: 4/26/2016

Prodigal Son

During this Easter Season in this Year of Mercy, it is a good time to think about and work on those areas within ourselves that need God’s Mercy. I have experienced many, many inner healings over my years since I have returned to the Church in 1981. Some of those healings have been more dramatic but most have been those smaller miracles of God’s grace.

We certainly receive His graces in the Sacraments but we also receive them as we live out our daily vocation. There are those times too when we are aware that something has touched our heart from a book we are reading, words spoken to us by someone else, kind deeds given to us or even just sitting and admiring nature.

Sometimes though we have to be challenged. We fall into complacency and although we want to follow Jesus and be the “best version of ourselves”, as Matthew Kelly the author of Rediscover Catholicism would say, we would rather not drag up some hidden things that have to be looked at.

Why not use this special time of mercy and forgiveness to ask Jesus what He would like from you, not necessarily what you want to give Him. Is there someone who needs your forgiveness? Maybe you need to forgive yourself? Do you need to give up a habit that is unhealthy, either physically or morally? Can you admit to Jesus that you often choose something or someone else instead of Him?

Go to Him. Sit quietly with Him and He will tell you. He is not with you to scold, but to love. Let Him show you how you can love Him in return.

You can respond to these blogs through email to: gthompson@solitudemyriam.org


Date: 4/11/2016

On Friday, Pope Francis’ much expected Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia – Joy of Love was released. I have barely begun to read this 256-page post-synodal document and can see already that it will need a slow read with much writing in the margins! I want to absorb what the Holy Father has to say to the Church and the world on the power and joy of married love and family life.

When I married at 20 years of age, I certainly planned to be married for life. I did not, however, know very much of what would be required for mature married love to grow. Although I am divorced, it thrills me to learn what God’s Plan is for couples and families. I may not be able to put some things into practice any longer, but I certainly can share with others still on the journey.

That’s one of the ways that the Holy Spirit is able to make good from something that was difficult--to take the heartache of the divorce and, through healing, to grow from that marital wound to a new life of joy and peace. With that also comes a willingness to share with others lessons learned the hard way.

Just in a quick perusing through the Joy of Love, I can see that Pope Francis wants to also accompany those who are in difficult situations. As we move forward, I hope in some future blogs to share what I will learn from the Holy Father.

During this beautiful Easter Season in this Year of Mercy, it certainly seems that Amoris Laetitia is a great gift to all the people of God!

Following is a link to the Vatican website to download the document: http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/apost_exhortations/documents/papa-francesco_esortazione-ap_20160319_amoris-laetitia.html

You can respond to these blogs through email to: gthompson@solitudemyriam.org


Date: 4/8/2016

This week on Monday the Church celebrated the feast of the Annunciation of Our Lord. It was moved from Holy Week this year to Monday of the 2nd week of Easter.

Such a special day and such a wonderful event to meditate on! Our Lady was only a young woman in her teens when Gabriel appeared to her to announce she would be the Mother of God. I don’t know your situation in your teenage years but I was not overly devout, so it is difficult for me to imagine Mary’s immediate yes to God’s Will. Not thinking of herself, but wanting what God wanted for her! How great to think about such a willing acceptance.

I do try to say yes to whatever God is asking of me. I do not always succeed by any stretch, but the desire is there. Sometimes all we need is that desire. One way for me is to continue to say yes to my marriage vows each day and to offer prayers for my spouse. Living as a single woman for almost 25 years since the divorce, it is easy sometimes to put it at the back of my mind or my prayers.

The living out of marriage vows alone is a challenging way of life to be sure. In the early years it is exceptionally so, most especially with children still at home. No matter if it is front and center of our thoughts and prayers or takes a back seat once in awhile, God does supply us with the grace to say yes again each day. We don’t have to “feel” a certain way because it is an act of the will. There may not be the fanfare of an angelic visit, but our hidden yes to Jesus is all he asks for. A yes from the heart.

God Bless.

You can respond to these blogs through email to: gthompson@solitudemyriam.org


Date: 4/2/2016

Tomorrow is the great feast of Divine Mercy Sunday!  It is always a special day to receive untold graces from the hand of God through the intercession of His Divine Son.  If you have never experienced this day before, try to attend one of the many observances throughout the country for this outpouring of God’s Grace.

After reading St. Faustina’s Diary years ago, I have always been touched by the fact that Jesus loves us as much as He does and so desires for us to come to Him and to bring to Him all our needs.

 As married men and women we have the great opportunity of bringing our spouses to Him.  Some of us are divorced but still married in the eyes of the Church, so we can intercede for them in a special way.  For some of our spouses, we are asking for a change of heart; for others, a return to the faith; and still others, a turning away from a sinful lifestyle.   The needs are varied, but the most important thing is that we ask.

 Jesus is waiting for us to give Him everything and everyone who is close to us.  He wants to pour out His graces upon us and upon them.  Don’t delay.  Run to Him and bring everyone with you, especially your broken families.  He will heal them all--in His Time and in His Way! 

God Bless.

(If you need more information about Divine Mercy, please visit the site of the Marians of the Immaculate Conception at  www.thedivinemercy.org )

You can respond to these blogs through email to: gthompson@solitudemyriam.org


Date: 3/26/2016

Tonight is the last liturgy of the Easter Triduum—The Easter Vigil. Early in the Mass, the Exultet is read or sung. It is one of my favorite parts of the Vigil. One line that always strikes me is: “O truly necessary sin of Adam…O happy fault”.

O necessary sin of Adam? O happy fault? What?? One might wonder about the Church’s Wisdom here until we hear…”that earned so great, so glorious a Redeemer”! Christ’s coming as a man to save us from our sins is an infinitely greater act than the sin of our first parents! So we celebrate: O happy fault!

For some of us who are divorced, we could say: O happy divorce? That would, of course, seem quite bizarre to say the least! However for many, the event of their separation or divorce has brought about a return to the faith or a newly rekindled fervor of their faith. Christ making good out of something so devastating.

My faith was tested sorely during those early years of the divorce. I wondered why God had let it happen, as though it was somehow His fault! However, looking back on that most difficult event in my life, I realize that my faith has grown enormously since then. My dependence on God has become my strength. What I thought was all His fault or my husband’s, I have grown to see my own faults that contributed to our marriage failure.

I don’t walk around singing “O happy divorce”, but I am so thankful for what He has done in my life. When you hear the words tonight, please keep in mind that He will make something positive from your current difficulty.

I will end with another line from the Exultet: “This is the night that even now, throughout the world, sets Christian believers apart from worldly vices and from the gloom of sin, leading them to grace…”

May you have a grace-filled Easter Season!

You can respond to these blogs through email to: gthompson@solitudemyriam.org


Date: 3/19/2016

I’m not sure whether approaching Holy Week is the best time to start a blog or the worst time! I’ll let you decide. But it is a special day today, the feast of St. Joseph, husband of Mary, so I believe it is a very appropriate day to begin. I am reminded that it was in March many years ago that my husband decided to seek a divorce. I never expected to be divorced.

I always thought that we would grow old together, rather than apart. It was such an awful, painful time. Something certainly had ruptured. I felt as though there was a gaping hole in my chest, raw and bleeding. I thought it would never go away, ever. I also remember feeling so uncertain about the future, how will I survive? Are you dealing with separation or divorce right now? Are you thinking that you will never feel better, never have joy, never know love again, wondering how you will go on?

As we begin Holy Week tomorrow, walk through the week with the hope of the Resurrection before you. Give your pain, worries and anxieties to Jesus. Let Him take them to the Cross. Allow Him to help you carry your cross. You will one day have the joy of new life before you. You will one day feel better. You will one day know love again.

Please remember that you are loved by God right now. You are not alone. He is there with you at your side. Let’s pray this week for our spouses, and stay close to Jesus. God Bless.

You can respond to these blogs through email to: gthompson@solitudemyriam.org




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