Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter Blessings!

For our sake Christ was obedient, accepting even death, death on a cross. Therefore God raised Him on high and gave Him the name above all other names. ~ Philippians 2:8

O Christians, to the Paschal Victim bring praise!
Jesus Who was crucified has risen!
O God, Who on this day, through Your Only-begotten Son, overcame death, and opened to us the gate of everlasting life: as, by Your anticipating Grace, You breathe good desires into our hearts, so also, by Your gracious help, bring them to good effect. Amen.
(Prayer from Saint Joseph Daily Missal)

Joy to the World!
He Has Risen!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Christ Is Passover

And He said to them, "I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer." ~ Luke 22:15

I've been reading a lot about Passover and the traditions associated with this Holy Day, and I wish that our Church still celebrated it. I know the explanation of the Old Testament being fulfilled, but I still wish this tradition had been carried over. I know that the Sacrifice of the Mass is more important than any tradition. And I know that we also remember Christ Passion and His Great Sacrifice on Good Friday, and I love that Christ Is our Passover, but I think it would be nice to celebrate the traditions of Passover with all that in mind.

Passover sacrifice is offered at the Command of God. The sacrificial animal was always male, and without blemish. Each family or society offered one victim together. It was really a house or family sacrifice, something intimate, yet shared as a religious society as a whole.
I also read that the paschal sacrifice indicates the community between God and man.

I wish our Christian Faith had held onto some of the traditions of our Jewish roots and still celebrated them in much the same way that Jesus celebrated them.

Passover Prayer

Long ago, at this season, on such a night as this, a people - our people - set out on a journey.
All but crushed by their enslavement, they yet recalled the far-off memory of a happier past.
And heard the voice of their ancestral God, bidding them summon up the courage to be free.
Boldly, they went forth from Egypt, crossed the Sea, and headed through the desert for the Promised Land.
What they experienced, they remembered, and told their children, and they to theirs.
From generation to generation, the story was retold, and we are here to tell it yet again.
We too give thanks for Israel's liberation; we too remember what it means to be a slave.
And so we pray for all who are still fettered, still denied their human rights. Let all God's children sit at His table, drink the wine of deliverance, and eat the bread of freedom:

Freedom from bondage
And freedom from oppression,

Freedom from hunger
And freedom from want,

Freedom from hatred
And freedom from fear,

Freedom to think
And freedom to speak,

Freedom to learn
And freedom to love,

Freedom to hope
And freedom to rejoice;

Soon in our days,


"Constantly remember the pains of our Crucified Love." ~ St. Paul of the Cross

Monday, March 8, 2010

God's Unfailing Love

There aren't many things we can rely on in life, but there is one certainty ~ God's Unfailing Love.

I trust in Your unfailing love. I will rejoice because You have rescued me. ~ Psalm 13:5

"At the very heart and foundation of all God's dealings with us...we must dare to believe in and assert the infinite, unmerited, and unchanging Love of God." ~ L.B. Cowman

"Look deep within yourself and recognize what brings life and grace into your heart. It is this that can be shared with those around you. You are Loved By God and this is an inspiration to love." ~ Christopher De Vinck

Sunday, February 28, 2010

He's An On-Time God

There's a song by Dottie Peoples titled "He's An On Time God" and one of the lines in this song is:

He may not Be there when you want Him,
but He'll Be there right on time.

This is something I've been contemplating a lot lately, how I've often thought God should be at my beck and call, and how I've often thought He should be answering my every prayer in just the way I want it answered.
I'm trying to become much more at peace with trusting that He will provide my needs according to His plan, and He will be there at just the right time according to His plan.
I still take all my needs to Him in prayer, it's just that I'm trying not to be so anxious anymore about the answer, or about when that answer will arrive.
Patience really is a virtue, and patience is what I've been praying for lately.

Do not let your heart be troubled. Trust in God; Trust also in Me. ~ John 14:1

"If the Lord be with us, we have no cause of fear. His Eye is upon us, His Arm over us, His Ear open to our prayer - His Grace sufficient, His Promise unchangeable." ~ John Newton

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Blessed Assurance

Lent is a time to reflect on the fulfillment of God's Promise to the world. For me Christmas was just the beginning, and it is Christ's Passion that brings us to the realization of God's Promise and His great love and desire for us.

Christmas is such a happy time, but Lent, for me, is a much more emotional time, it's humbling, it's awe-inspiring, it's sorrowful, and it's joyful all at the same time. But mostly it is overwhelming to think we are loved that much. Jesus Suffered and Died for us, and God Loved us enough to allow that to happen. It is what my Faith is based on.

Take up the shield of Faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. ~ Ephesians 6:16

"Faith is a living, daring confidence in God's Grace, so sure and certain that a man could stake his life on it a thousand times." ~ Martin Luther

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Ash Wednesday

There is a prayer in my old St. Joseph Daily Missal that sums up for me this day:

O God, You desire not the death, but the repentance of sinners; look down most graciously upon our frail human nature; and in Your goodness deign to Bless us as we put this token of our lowliness which we purpose upon our heads, so that we who know we are but ashes and are to return to dust, may turn to You to obtain Your mercy and pardon.

Remember, man, that thou are dust, and unto dust thou shall return. ~ Genesis 3:19

"Every breath we draw is a Gift of His Love." ~ Thomas Merton

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

God's Way

The fourth Anniversary of my Mom's passing is coming up in a few days. I'm not in a good place about it. I go through good spells and bad spells, there are times when I am very accepting, times when it all feels so right. But these past few weeks nothing feels right about it for me.

So I try reminding myself that my will for my Mom did not mesh with God's Will for my Mom. And I remind myself that God's Wisdom is Perfect.

Some days these beliefs are what carry me through.

"For My Thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My Ways", declares the Lord.

"As the Heavens are higher than the earth, so are My Ways higher than your ways, and My Thoughts than your thoughts." ~ Isaiah 55:8-9

"For death begins with life's first breath. And life begins at touch of death." ~ John Oxenham

Friday, February 5, 2010

Living In Harmony

Living in harmony is about getting in touch with your inner feelings and through this you gain physical, psychological, emotional, and spiritual well-being. I've never been attracted to this because I felt that getting in touch with my inner feelings was all about 'ME' (and I feel that I'm self-centered enough), until I read that harmonic living is much more than that because it's an inter-connection with all creation, and it's by getting in touch with your inner feelings that you realize that true potential happiness, health, and living a fulfilled life can only come from a life connected to others.
A big part of reaching a state of harmony is isolating ourselves from the world at times for religious/spiritual contemplation. We need periods of retreat where we can step away from everyday stresses, to look at how we are conducting our lives, and look for ways to improve our lives.
As I develop a deeper relationship with God I do sense joy and peace, and I do think that part of developing a deeper relationship with God does involve a lot of self-reflection.

I used to get annoyed at men and women who chose to live a cloistered life, I thought it was such a waste, I thought they could be using their lives for so much more as missionaries, or even as living everyday lives raising children, working at jobs where they connect with others and can be an example, or working to donate part of their salary to those in need, and volunteering their time to help those less fortunate. But then I thought about the Power of Prayer, and I thought about how so many of us don't pray enough, and how the cloistered take up that slack for us. And I was so humbled when I realized that every life has profound meaning, and it's not for me to judge God's Calling for each life.

For we are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago. ~ Ephesians 2:10

"Love comes while we rest against our Father's chest. Joy comes when we catch the rhythms of His Heart. Peace comes when we live in harmony with those rhythms. ~ Ken Gire

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Purification Of The Blessed Virgin Mary

February 2 is traditionally celebrated in the Catholic Faith as the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and it is also known as The Feast of the Presentation of our Lord in the Temple. In the Catholic Church the Presentation is also the fourth Joyful Mystery of the Rosary.
Candles are blessed on this day, a symbolic representation of the words of holy Simeon concerning Christ: "A Light of revelation to the Gentiles." Traditionally a procession of the faithful with lighted candles was held to commemorate the entry of Christ, 'The Light of the World', into the Temple of Jerusalem.

Mary came to the Temple for her purification ceremony, a religious observance of her time, where she would offer a burnt offering at the door in thanksgiving for a happy delivery, and also a sin offering, she would then be cleansed and reinstated in her former privileges. It was also the custom for the first-born son to be offered to God and then ransomed back. Mary would offer her Son to God, and then St. Joseph would have paid the priest five shekels to ransom Him back.

It is also a foretelling of the Great Ransom that Jesus Himself would be as Savior of the world.

...because my eyes have seen Your salvation, which You have prepared before the face of all peoples: a Light of Revelation to the Gentiles, and a Glory for Your people Israel. ~ Luke 2:32

The Church asks us this day to remember to pray to always be generous with God, always ready for any sacrifice He may ask of us.

"If Jesus Christ Be God and died for me, then no sacrifice can be too great for me to make for Him." ~ C T Studd

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Giving Up Control

A person may plan his or her whole life journey thinking that the control belongs to them, but sometimes God has other plans. I think it's fine to make plans, and in fact I think it would be irresponsible to live life without making plans, but we have to remind ourselves that we are not the authors of our lives, and when things don't go 'according to plan', or rather they don't go according to our plan, well, then we have to turn our lives over to the Author of Life.

To man belongs the plans of the heart, but from the Lord comes the reply of the tongue. ~ Proverbs 16:1

"It is God's knowledge of me, His careful husbanding of the ground of my being, His constant Presence in the garden of my little life that guarantees my joy." ~ W. Phillip Keller

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Keep The Faith

I think it's normal to question life sometimes, normal to question why evil is allowed to perpetrate, normal to ask the age-old question of why bad things happen to good people.
I don't know the answer to any of those questions, I only know that I am striving to no longer base my opinions on only what I am able to see.

Be still, and know that I Am God;... ~ Psalm 46:10

"Whenever anything disagreeable or displeasing happens to you, remember Christ crucified and be silent." ~ St. John of the Cross

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Love My Enemies?

One that is antagonistic to another; one seeking to injure, overthrow, or confound.
Something harmful or deadly.

We all have enemies in some form. And I just find it hard to imagine anyone truly embracing an enemy.

Okay, I'll admit that this is something that is almost unacceptable to me, especially in light of what is happening in our country today, the sadness of the aftermath of September 11, the recent terrorist attempts, and the arrest of many terrorists who were plotting our destruction.
What's to love?
I have sympathy for misguided commitments, but I don't have any love for those committed to my destruction and/or the destruction of my loved ones and homeland.

But I tell you who hear Me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. ~ Luke 6: 27-28

Honestly, there are days I don't much love the people I love! So loving my enemies is a near-impossible task for me.
This is one gigantic hurdle blocking any spiritual growth for me.

I did come across a quote that had an impact on me though, and it's helping a great deal:

"You don't love in your enemies what they are, but what you would have them become by your prayers." ~ St. Augustine

Friday, January 1, 2010

Solemnity of Mary

The Solemnity of Mary is also known as The Maternity of Mary, and it celebrates the motherhood of Mary and the characteristics associated with being a mother.
When I used to think of 'solemnity' I thought about something sad and somber, and I didn't really question anything sad associated with Mary as I was raised on The Sorrowful Mother and all the sad events Mary had to bear during her life.
But when I looked up the meaning of the word I came across the definition of 'dignified seriousness' and I thought that summed up perfectly Mary and her acceptance of God's will for her and her Savior Son. And I would imagine that it sums up Mary's characteristics regarding motherhood. But I've let go of my idea that Mary's relationship with God and with her Son was always a somber one. I believe that she had a joyful, loving relationship with Jesus, and I believe she also derived great joy in each of His accomplishments from His very first steps and on into His adult life. And I believe she garnered great strength, and peace, and yes, JOY from her relationship with God.

"The Mighty Has Done Great Things for me; and Holy Is His Name." ~ Luke 1:49

As important as Mary's role was in God's Plan for our Salvation, she was a background figure, and she willingly accepted that role. Mary called herself a 'handmaid' of the Lord. The more accurate translation of the word she used was 'bondservant' and a bondservant was one who willingly sold him or herself into slavery to another. Mary took the role of God's servant with dignified seriousness and she fully accepted and embraced God's Plan.
I pray I can be as accepting of God's Plan for my life.