Thursday, December 10, 2009
A lot has happened since I last wrote. Not only am I excited for the doors God has opened, I feel God says to me, "You haven't seen anything yet." I cannot imagine what Jesus has in store for me, but I know that is full of LOVE. I feel as though I could burst at the seems with joy (partly due to Advent and Christmas coming up!), and I know that there is more to come.
How can one be so full of JOY, and know that this can't even compare to what awaits us for eternity? For, "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him." (1 Corin. 2:9) It is truly incomprehensible.
So, Advent. I feel as though this Christmas is different somehow. I feel more alive and closer to Jesus than ever, and I have continued to pray to understand deeper the spirit and mystery of Christmas and Jesus coming to us as a little child. So far, as previously stated, I have learned of JOY! But there is still much more to take in.
I am headed for a vocational retreat with a wonderful group of Sisters this weekend. I am praying to stay open and quiet in spirit, listening to hear Jesus's voice. Please, all who read this, say a Hail Mary for me, or any prayer. Know that I am praying for all of you.
Much Peace and JOY! to all of you in this beautiful preparation for Christ's coming.
~One in love with Christ
P.S. JOY is contagious. Spread some around!
Saturday, November 14, 2009
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Friday, November 6, 2009
I feel as though lately I've been on a desert whirlwind and I can't quite grasp much of anything. I feel confused at times, and wonder at what God is up to. I think I am going through a dry spell spiritually, while so much is happening on the outside.
Starting a new job, discerning my vocation (I simply am clueless at this point which order of religious sisters God wants me to be a part of), moving, financial worries, family issues, my health...so much that I worry too much about instead of giving it to Him. I must constantly remind myself to surrender everything in trust and love to Jesus, who can handle it all much better than I can. :)
But through all this, Jesus is reminding me how much I truly need Him, for without Him, I am nothing. It is only by His grace and love, that my life draws meaning.
Also, more and more I am seeing the providence of God unfolding in my life. Trusting in that providence however, can be somewhat more difficult. Still, circumstances, I not only believe but have also experienced, are never coincidence. Even if we can't see the plan of God before us, be sure that He does.
Often times, I find myself looking back, (it is one of the only ways to recognize God's plan, in the past) and I see God working amazing things. It baffles my little brain to think that Our Father in Heaven cares that much about just one person to order the universe in such a way! Imagine the planning and work that God must put into that!!!
It's humbling to think my Father would do so much for me! How much more then must he love and care for the whole world! How much Our Father must love us! It is something that I cannot begin to understand, but only trust with in my heart.
Speaking of Love, of the tender love of God...when Jesus fills your heart with greater capacity for love, and you see how gentle and meek is Jesus who loves us....it's inexpressible.
"I think that every time we say the Our Father, God looks at His hands, where we are etched. ‘See, I have inscribed you on the palms of my hands...’ (Isaiah 49:16). What a beautiful description and also expressive of the personal love God feels for each one of us!"So just remember, whatever is going on in your life, God has a plan. And it is all being worked out by a Father who loves us so much, that he gave up His Son, to die for us. Look at a crucifix if you need reminding. :) For I believe that when we look at Jesus on the Cross, He is saying to us, "I love you this much."
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Monday, October 12, 2009
"The basic question "Who am I?" resurfaces throughout life. An old Talmudic tale sheds light on the true identity and value of each and every human being at the deepest level:
The Fugitive and the Rabbi
One day a young fugitive, trying to hide himself from the enemy, entered a small village. The people were kind to him and offered him a place to stay. But when the soldiers who sought the fugitive asked where he was hiding, everyone became very fearful.The soldiers threatened to burn the village and kill every person in it unless the young man was handed over to them before dawn.
The people went to the Rabbi and asked him what to do. Torn between handing over the boy to the enemy and having his people killed, the Rabbi withdrew to his room and read his bible, hoping to find an answer before dawn. In the early morning, his eyes fell on these words: "It is better that one man dies than that the whole people be lost."
Then the Rabbi closed the Bible, called the soldiers, and told them where the boy was hidden. And after the soldiers led the fugitive away to be killed, there was a feast in the village because the Rabbi had saved the lives of the people. But the Rabbi did not celebrate. Overcome with a deep sadness, he remained in his room.
That night an angel came to him and asked, "What have you done?" He said, "I handed over the fugitive to the enemy." Then the angel said: "But don't you know that you have handed over the Messiah?" "How could I know?" the Rabbi replied anxiously. Then the angel said: "If, instead of reading your Bible, you had visited this young man just once and looked into his eyes, you would have known."
Are we not challenged in daily life to look deeper into the eyes of the people we encounter - even if they are running away from something - and to see in them the face of God? Perhaps just knowing that they too are beloved children of God will be enought to prevent us from handing them over to the enemy. Are we not also challenged and encouraged to look more deeply at the way God sees u - beloved, accepted, affirmed, and worthy of salvation? Are we, like the fugitive, relections of the Messiah?
There is in each of us an inner voice of Love that says: "You are the beloved of God!"
[Unfortunately] The ultimate spiritual temptation is to doubt this fundamental truth about ourselves and trust in alternative identities. Sometimes we answer the question "Who am I?" with the response, "I am what I do." When I do good things an dhave a little success in life, I feel good about myself. But when I fail, I start getting depressed. And as I get older and can't do much, all I can say is, "Look what I did in my life...look, look, look, I did something good."
Or we might say, "I am what other people say about me." What people say about you has great power. When people speak well of you, you can walk around quite freely. But when somebody starts saying negative things about you, you might start feeling sad. When someone talks against you, it can cut deep into your heart. Why let what others say about you - good or ill - determine who you are?
You might also say, "I am what I have." For example, I am a Dutch person, with kind parents, a fine education, and good health. But as soon as I lose any of it, if a family member dies, if my health goes, or if I lose my property, then I can slip into inner darkness.
How much of our energy goes into defining ourselves by deciding "I am what I do," "I am what others say about me," or "I am what I have?" When that's the case, life often follows a repetitive up-and-down motion. When people speak well about me, and when I do good things, and when I have a lot, I am quite up and excited. But when I start losing, when I suddenly find out that I can't do some task anymore, when I learn that people talk against me, when I lose my friends, then I slip into the pit.
What I want to say to you is that this whole zigzag approach is wrong. I am not what I do, and you are not what you do, or what others say about you, or what you possess. "You are God's Beloved!"
The voice that speakes from above and from within whispers softly or declares loudly: "You are my Beloved son or daughter, on you my favor rests." It certainly is not easy to hear that voice in a world filled with voices that shout: "You are no good; you are ugly; you are worthless; you are despicable; you are nobody unless you can demonstrate the opposite." These negative voices are so loud and so persistent that it is easy to believe them. That's the trap of self-rejection. It is the trap of being a fugitive hiding from your truest identity.
Self rejection is the greatest enemy of the spiritual life because it contradicts the sacred voice that declares we are loved. Being the beloved [of God] expresses the core truth of our existence.
Dear friend, being the beloved is the origin and the fulfillment of the life of the Spirit...From the moment we claim the truth of being the beloved, we are faced with the call to become who we are...[St.] Augustine's words, "My soul is restless until it rests in you O God," capture well this journey. That I am always searching for God, always struggling to discover the fullness of Love, and always yearning for the complete truth, tells me that I have already been given a taste of God, of Love, and of Truth. I can only look for something that I have, to some degree, already found."
And so, I continue to look for that which I have already found. I continue to seek, and know that I will find. I remind myself of who I am. Know who you are. You are the Beloved of GOD!
Monday, October 5, 2009
(Jesus to souls - Diary of St. Faustina, 1488)
Today marks the feast of an amazing woman, St. Fuatsina Kowalska, one of the greatest saints of modern times. Because of Jesus' desire to work through St. Faustina, we are given a deep treasure that catapults us into the Divine Mercy of God.
Many will recognize the image of the Divine Mercy of Jesus (at left), which Jesus Himself, revealed to St. Faustina. St. Faustina also left us a storehouse of knowledge of the Divine Mercy of God in her Diary. If you can, read it. It will change your life. (See here find out more about it).
Prayed on ordinary Rosary beads, there is also the Chaplet of Divine Mercy. And, look for the Feast of Divine Mercy, commonly known as Divine Mercy Sunday, celebrated the Sunday after Easter.
Not only do we remember a great woman of God today, but also the message she brings from Jesus, that we can never fathom the depths of God's infinite mercy and love.
St. Faustina, Pray for us!
"Adam and Christ, Eve and Mary
You have observed His outstanding triumph, the splendid achievement of the cross. Now let me tell you something even more remarkable, the manner in which He gained His victory, and you will marvel all the more.
Christ conquered the devil using the same means and the same weapons that the devil used to win. Let me tell you how this occurred.The symbols of our fall were a virgin, a tree and death. The virgin was Eve (for she had not yet known man); then there was the tree; and death was Adam's penalty. And again these three tokens of our destruction, the virgin, the tree and death, became the tokens of our victory. Instead of Eve there was Mary, instead of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, the wood of the cross; in stead of Adam's death, the death of Christ.
Do you see then that the devil was defeated by the very means he used to conquer? By a tree the devil laid Adam low, and by a tree Christ defeated him. The first tree sent men to the world below, but the second called back those who had already gone down. The first tree buried man, already naked and a captive; the second revealed the victor naked to all the world.
The first death condemned those who were born afterward, but the second death raised up even those who were born before. Who will speak of the powers of the Lord? Though dead we became immortal. Such is the great achievement of the cross. Do you now understand the victory and the way is was won?
Learn now how this victory was achieved without any labor or effort of our own. We bloodied no weapons, nor stood on the battle line, nor bore any wounds, nor saw any fighting, and yet we won the victory. It was the Lord's combat, but our was the crown. And since it is our victory, let us be like soldiers and raise joyous voices in song in praise of our achievement. Praising the Lord let us say: Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?
All this was the glorious result of the cross. The cross is our trophy raised against the demons, our sword against sin, and the sword Christ used to pierce the serpent. The cross is the Father's will, the glory of the Only -begotten, the joy of the Spirit, the pride of the angels, the guarantee of the Church, Paul's boast, the bulwark of the saints, and the light of the entire world."
*Taken from the Office of Readings (p. 1660)
Thursday, October 1, 2009
"I know of one means only by which to attain to perfection: LOVE. Let us love, since our heart is made for nothing else. Sometimes I seek another word to express Love, but in this land of exile the word which begins and ends (St. Augustine) is quite incapable of rendering the vibrations of the soul; we must then adhere to this simple and only word: TO LOVE."
- St. Thérèse
In honor of her as one of my favorite Saints, I will post a number of resources on St. Thérèse for anyone interested. See the 'Continue reading here' link below.To learn about her life in detail see Here. To hear more great words of wisdom on her from Archbishop Fulton Sheen, here is Part 1, and Part 2. To read a wonderful blog post on her devotion to the Merciful Love of Jesus, go Here. Check out the video below as well. :-).
"It does not require much time to make a saint,
it requires, only, much love."
-Archbishop Fulton Sheen on St. Thérèse of Lisieux
Monday, September 21, 2009
"Jesus makes Himself the hungry one, the naked one, the homeless one, the sick one, the one in prison, the lonely one, the unwanted one, and He says: "You did it to Me." He is hungry for our love, and this is the hunger of our poor people. This is the hunger that you and I must find, it may be in our own home...
I...[visited] a home where they had all these old parents...I saw in that home they had everything...but everybody was looking towards the door...And I turned to the sister and I asked..."How is i that these people who have everything here, why are they all looking towards the door, why are they not smiling?" I am so used to the smiles on our poor people, even the dying ones smile. And she said: "This is nearly every day...They are hurt because they are forgotten."...This is where love comes...Maybe in our own family we have somebody who is feeling lonely, who is feeling sick, who is feeling worried...Are we there to receive them?...
I was surprised in the West to see so many young boys and girls given into drugs, and I tried to find out why..."Because there is no one in the family to receive them." Father and mother are so busy they have no time...The child goes back to the street and gets involved in something...These are things that break peace.
But I feel the greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion, because it is a direct war, a direct killing, direct murder by the mother herself. And we read in the Scripture, For God says very clearly: "Even if a mother could forget her child, I will not forget you. I have carved you in the palm of my hand."...That unborn child has been carved in the hand of God...
Many people are very, very concerned with children in India, with the children of Africa where quite a number die, maybe of malnutrition, of hunger and so on, but millions are dying deliberately by the will of the mother. And this is what is the greates destroyer of peace today. Because if a mother can kill her own child, what is left for me to kill you and you to kill me? There is nothing in between...Let us ensure this year that we make every single child born, and unborn, wanted...Have we really made the children wanted?...
We picked up [a man] from the drain, half eaten with worms, and we brought him to the home: "I have lived like an animal in the street, but I am going to die like an angel, loved and cared for." And it was so wonderful to see the greatness of that man who could speak like that, who could die like that without blaming anybody, without cursing anybody, without comparing anything. Like an angel - this is the greatness of our people.
And that is why we believe what Jesus has said: "I was hungry, I was naked, I was homeless, I was unwanted, unloved, uncared for - and you did it to Me.""
*Excerpt taken from "Mother Teresa: Come Be My Light. The Private Writings of the 'Saint of Calcutta.'" Edited with commentary by Brian Kolodiejchuk, M.C.
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
(Latin for: "the Mother was standing")
At the cross her station keeping,
Mary stood in sorrow weeping
Close to Jesus to the last.
Through her heart, his sorrrow sharing,
All his bitter anguish bearing
Now at length the sword had passed.
Oh, how sad and sore distressed
Was that Mother highly blessed
Of the sole begotten One!
Christ above in torment hangs,
She beneath beholds the pangs
Of her dying, glorious Son.
Is there one who would not weep,
'Whelmed in miseries so deep,
Christ's dear Mother to behold?
Can the human heart refrain
From partaking in her pain,
In that Mother's pain untold?
Bruised, derided, cursed, defiled
She beheld her tender Child,
All with bloody scourges rent.
For the sins of his own nation
Saw him hang in desolation
Till his spirit forth he sent.
O sweet Mother! font of love,
Touch my spirit from above,
Make my hear with yours accord.
Make me feel as you have felt;
Make my soul to glow and melt
With the love of Christ, my Lord.
Holy Mother, pierce me through,
In my heart each wound renew
Of my savior crucified.
Let me share with you his pain,
Who for all our sins was slain
Who for me in torments died.
Let me mingle tears with you,
Mourning him who mourned for me
All the days that I may live.
By the cross with you to stay,
There with you to weep and pray,
Is all I ask of you to give.
Virgin of all Virgins blest!
Listen to my fond request:
Let me share your grief divine.
Let my to my latest breath,
In my body bear the death
Of that dying Son of thine.
Wounded with His every wound,
Steep my soul till it has swooned
In His very Blood away.
Be to me, O Virgin, nigh,
Lest in flames I burn and die,
In His awfull judgment day.
Christ, when you shall call me hence,
Be your Mother my defense,
Be your cross my victory.
While my body here decays
May my soul your goodness praise,
Safe in heaven eternally.
Monday, September 14, 2009
Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross: "When I am lifted up, then I will draw all men to myself."
Had there been no cross, Christ could not have been crucified. Had there been no cross, life itself could not have been nailed to the tree. And if life had not been nailed to it, there would be no streams of immortality pouring from Christ's side, blood and water for the world's cleansing. The legal bond of our sin would not be canceled, we should not have obtained our freedom, we should not have enjoyed the fruit of the tree of life and the gates of paradise would not stand open. Had there been no cross, death would not have been trodden underfoot, nor hell despoiled.
Therefore, the cross is something wonderfully great and honorable. It is great because through the cross the many noble acts of Christ found their consummation - very many indeed, for both his miracles and his sufferings were fully rewarded with victory. The cross is honorable because it is both the sign of God's suffering and the trophy of victory. It stands for his suffering because on it he freely suffered unto death. But it is also his trophy because it was the means by which the devil was wounded and death conquered; the barred gates of hell were smashed, and the cross became the one common salvation of the whole world.
The cross is called Christ's gory; it is saluted as his triumph. We recognize it as the cup he longed to drink and the climax of the sufferings he endured for our sake. As to the cross being Christ's glory, listen to his words:
Now is the Son of Man glorified, and in him God is glorified, and God will glorify him at once.And again:
Father, glorify me with the glory I had with you before the world came to be.And once more:
Father, glorify your name. Then a voice came from Heaven: I have glorified it and will glorify it again.Here he speaks of the glory that would accrue to him through the cross. And if you would understand that the cross is Christ's triumph, hear what he himself also said:
When I am lifted up, then I will draw all men to myself.
Now you can see that the cross is Christ's glory and triumph.
*Taken from the LOTH, Office of Readings
*From a discourse by Saint Andrew of Crete, bishop.
On 9/11, a day which we should be remembering the tragic events that occurred in 2001...another tragic event occurred. Not only was this man killed, but another lost his life as well prior to Jim Pouillon being murdered. Please pray for these victims, and more importantly pray for the man who killed them. May his heart be turned toward Jesus! Please though, say a quick prayer for all involved if you are reading this.
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee.
Blessed Art thou among women,
and Blessed is the Fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God, Pray for us sinners,
Now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.
Holy Mary watch over us!
Thursday, September 3, 2009
As a child even, I remember being inspired to do something great. I wanted to give myself over to accomplish a great feat. I felt that I could be a missionary in the most unheard of parts of the world. And if not that, even in looking at careers when I was a bit older, I wanted to do something totally awesome. I felt like I had to go all out, or go home. A philosophy which sometimes is a great thing, but also hinders me in life I’ve realized. But I looked at being an EMT, or working in the emergency room itself, being a policewoman, a firefighter, joining the army, etc. It’s obvious all of these are service oriented careers, and I wanted to do a great service.
Now, I realize, that ‘something’ greater, though I couldn’t see it before, that desire, can be fulfilled by being the spouse of Jesus Christ. It is truly doing something Great, for God. It is more than I could have dreamed for myself, but Jesus has been leading me to it my entire life. And I still seem to have that missionary spirit…I want to travel, to see, to help, to serve the People of God, and in doing bring Jesus to them, and see Jesus in them.
I’ve noticed whenever I’ve gone on a missionary type trip, It’s when I’ve felt the most ALIVE. And I experienced that to even greater lengths when I visited a round of holy religious sisters. That trip awoke in my heart a desire that I didn’t know I had long had. I knew I belonged with a community of women religious. People as devoted to Jesus as I wanted to be. It’s hard to describe, but, it’s like they were made of the same fabric, they ‘fit’ with who I felt God was leading me to. Those who ultimately are in our same vocation, I think, have that effect on us.
Now my task lies in finding that specific community, where I will feel it is home. I keep trusting, praying, and searching, confident that God will light up the darkness ahead of me. Just light enough, so that I can take the next step, but also dark enough that I allow Jesus to take me by the Hand, and lead me while He lights the way.
"My dear young friends...may you step forward and take up the responsibility which your faith in Christ sets before you! Young men and women of America, I urge you: open your hearts to the Lord’s call to follow Him in the priesthood and the religious life. Can there be any greater mark of love than this: to follow in the footsteps of Christ, who was willing to lay down His life for His friends?"
- Pope Benedict XVI, Papal Mass in NYC, 2008
Here is the continuation of the film. Watch the rest! It's better if you see the whole thing. Blessings and Peace to you!
This Video is amazing. Open your heart, and take a look. If you feel called to do something Great for God as a man, perhaps the Catholic Priesthood is for you? And a woman, ever think about religious life? Man or woman, take a look at this video. It's truly inspiring.
Monday, August 31, 2009
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Have any of you ever read The Giver, written in 1993 by Lois Lowry? I've read it. More than once. If you haven't read it, perhaps you should, before reading my post here so I don't spoil it for you.
The story is about a twelve year old boy named Jonas, who lives in a world that is controlled to perfection, at least, that's what the society in Jonas's world believes. Their idea of a kind of "utopia," includes mass murder of the elderly, adults, children, babies...all under the guise of coining the term for someone who has been murdered, as one who was just "released."
They lie continually, seem to have no conscience...can't see color...they rarely feel pain...and they don't go so far as to Love anyone, it's just, "too strong" a feeling. They appoint one man, named the Giver, out of the entire population, to hold all the pain, misery, and memories of the past...consequently, this man is also the only one who can see in color, and holds true joy, love, and wisdom.
I won't give away more of the story, but, though this was written as a fiction novel...doesn't something seem quite nonfiction about it? I remember being shocked when I first read it about the age of 12; just completely appalled at the story. And what shocks me now isn't a story, but the fact that many details of this book currently play out in real life today; and what's more, sadly, have been for quite some time.
Here's an example. It was my brothers birthday today, and so, my family decided to go see a movie in the theatre, something we rarely do. I think the last time I saw a film in theatres was about a year ago. And I wasn't too keen on going to this one, but I consented. We went to see "Shorts." A film about a crazy community that developed this machine called the "black box" that was any kind of gadget you could think of; cell phone, computer, shaver, toaster, anything. Then, it's upstaged by a magic wishing rock. I think they tried to show a good moral at the end, but surreptitiously failed in my opinion. They even named one of the little girls, "hellvetica" and she had this evil theme song that followed her throughout the film. The movie was not worth it.
But anyway, getting back on track...the whole experience kind of shocked me. Before the movie began, they're showing commercial after commercial - kids in designer clothes who decide to play music and start a fashion show in the school cafeteria - etc. The whole time the speakers are so loud you feel like your going deaf. Then the movie plays - and you get sucked into the story. Finally at the end, you wake up like a zombie. Walking back out to your car. And we pay for this?? Subject our kids to stuff like this? (i.e. especially certain movie content? - Shorts, a PG film...do they even make G movies anymore? - can't remember the last time I saw a film rated that in a theatre).
So then, after the film, we head to a store to pick up a few things before going home. And, it's like, man, is everyone still in zombie mode? I mean, the people. Consequently, this is an ongoing phenomena in the US. It's like people are AFRAID... to even look one another in the eye when they pass by! I walk through the store, and it's like everyone coldly stares straight ahead, in their own world. It's like we have individualized "utopias," and we think we're safe inside them. What are we afraid of?
You know, technology is great. But what has it gotten us in America? Materialism, Materialism, Materialism. DVD's, Cd's, I-pods, Mp3's, TV, laptops, cell phones, Blackberries, GPS, Texting...mostly designed to "keep in contact" with eachother. In my opinoin, they tend to do the opposite. And here I am, blogging. Perpetuating the cycle.
The scariest thing, too, is we don't even realize what's happening. Many people are so absorbed into things, and themselves. A lot of people have no morals. They literally can't tell between right and wrong. Case in point, since when did we think it ok to kill a little baby in America, or anywhere? Because that's exactly what abortion is, it's killing. Abortion, the cover-word for infanticide. The term which is even more disguised as "family planning" by certain government officials.
Here is wikipedia's definition of "Infanticide," fyi.
Infanticide is the practice of someone intentionally causing the death of an infant. Often it is the mother who commits the act, but criminology recognizes various forms of non-maternal child murder. In many past societies, certain forms of infanticide were considered permissible. Female infanticide is more common than the killing of male offspring due to sex-selective infanticide. In the United Kingdom, the Infanticide Act defines "infanticide" as a specific crime equivalent to manslaughter that can only be committed by the mother intentionally killing her own baby during the first twelve months of its life; in other cultures, the concept of infanticide includes the intentional killing of children older than twelve months. This article addresses the practice of infanticide within multiple cultural and historical contexts.
Doesn't this seem horribly ironic? Why can't we recognize Infanticide in aboriton? It's the same thing!
Aside from everything this country has...we're really quite poor. And what Mother Theresa once said about our country hits the mark on a lot of what I've been saying.
"Being unwanted, unloved, uncared for, forgotten by everybody, I think that is a much greater hunger, a much greater poverty than the person who has nothing to eat."Thus:
"The poorest country in the world is one which does not protect its own children."
Yet, there is a way out! We don't have to remain spiritually poor. When will the majority of America wake up and realize what seems that only the minority knows? That we have something better than the Giver in Lois Lowry's book.
That we have Christ Jesus.
So spread the word.
Friday, August 21, 2009
"...O Lord, Thou art our Father; we are the clay, and thou art our potter; we are all the work of thy hand." - Isaiah 64:8
To some who might read this, the reaction could be something like, "she's nuts," "people don't do that anymore," or "must be some kind of a fanatic." Well, I'll agree to the last possible comment, I certainly am a fanatic, that is, when it comes to Jesus. As far as the second comment, I would refer you to the growing communities of religious sisters that have many young people of the "new millennium" opting for religious life. And as for being nuts, well, I think it's safe to say we're all a little "nuts" in our own way.
When God touches your heart to the extent that you finally come to realize, that nothing, I mean literally NOTHING, will satisfy you besides HIM, and you realize that His Love is really everything... and I suppose since I consider myself in this position, then I have duly gained the title, "fanatic." But it's not a fantasy. Big difference. Because Jesus is real, He is God, and He is also Human.
But what most people have a hard time understanding, is that when God does touch your heart in such a way, at least as it did with me, you cannot help but want to give everything in love back to Jesus; even in giving up your life for Him; which is what the religious life is certainly focused on. For me, I really do feel that I owe everything to God. EVERYTHING, is His. I am very aware that Jesus saved me; and have no reason to comprehend why I feel He is leading me to this kind of life with Him. I can only sum it up in the words of St. Paul,
"For He says to Moses: "I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion."So it depends not upon man's will or exertion, but upon God's mercy...Who are you, a man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, "why have you made me thus?" Has the potter no right over the clay[?]...as indeed He says in Hose'a..."and her who was not beloved I will call 'my beloved.'"" (Romans 9:15-16, 20-21, 25)
These words give me confidence that God, if in His mercy and goodness is calling me, then He will take care of me and help me to see it through. The hard part is though, once you feel God has set you on a certain path, in my case this one of discerning religious life, it's much more difficult to continue to walk on it. More than one might think. Why should I have thought that this part of discerning would be easy? In fact, it's become the hardest thing I think so far I have ever done.
But, I wouldn't go back for a minute. I have the sure sense that God is leading me, and in His time will show me where He wants me to go. Trusting Him, has often proved my greatest challenge. But I have been learning that there is NO ONE, I should rather put my trust. And to me, what's so amazing is that God allows, and even wishes, me to be His bride! In my opinion, you could never ask for a better husband. :)
I don't know what the future holds, But I rest assured that He does. And in the meantime, I wait, and remember, that I am clay, in the hands of the Potter.
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
I thought today I would post on how things have been going right now in my life. It's really difficult to describe how God is working in me. I feel that He is piling crosses upon me (hence a lot of recent posts concerning the Holy Cross and Jesus' passion). Yet Jesus is ever mindful to give me no more than I can handle.
I was thinking the other day, that truly, what a privilege it is to suffer for Christ. To be like Him, we must also suffer. And I feel that I understand with greater clarity why the Saints rejoiced in their sufferings. Of course, it is not human nature to love suffering, therefore it is certainly a great grace from God. For on our own, we can do nothing. But to suffer for HIM! And to remain close to Him through the suffering...yes...with God's grace, I can say that I am willing to endure my suffering.
And so, I will describe one of the crosses Jesus has allowed I bear. That of unemployment. All summer, I have been searching, trying to find work. You never know how much of a blessing work can be until you don't have it. And the positions I did get interviews for, were given to a better candidate. But I am content. I feel God's grace at work, and I have peace in my heart. Because I know that Jesus will provide. And I am content to wait until He wills that this cross be lifted.
As the Thomas Kempas says,
"When you reach the degree of patience that tribulation is sweet to you and even relished for Christ, then you may trust that all is well with you, for you have found paradise on earth."
I cannot claim to have attained this. But I feel a certain sense of peace, despite what I am going through.
I realize I am not alone in this kind of cross. Many are unemployed, and the numbers seem to continue to grow higher. But, if your in the same boat that I am, just remember, look to Jesus, He will never abandon you, nor forsake you. He truly does have you in the palm of His hand. So take heart. He will help you.
All for the Love of Christ!
P.S. Here is a poem I have written concerning suffering. I have written a longer version, but thought it best to post the 'condensed' one. And if you are reading this, know I am praying for you.
Monday, August 17, 2009
By G. Studdert-Kennedy
When Jesus came to Golgotha,
They hanged Him on a tree,
They drove great nails through hands and feet,
And made a Calvary;
They crowned Him with a crown of thorns,
Red were His wounds and deep,
For those were crude and cruel days,
And human flesh was cheap.
When Jesus came to Birmingham,
They simply passed Him by.
They would not hurt a hair of Him,
They only let Him die;
For men had grown more tender
And they would not give Him pain,
They only just passed down the street,
And left Him in the rain.
Still Jesus cried,
‘Forgive them, for they know not what they do,'
And still it rained the winter rain,
That drenched Him through and through;
The crowds went home and left the streets
Without a soul to see,
And Jesus crouched against a wall,
And cried, for Calvary.
I think this very much still applies to our time. These are very powerful words he writes. A somber reminder how the Lord is wounded even more than by those who "hanged him on a tree." Because for those who are indifferent, for them, he cries for Calvary.
"When God becomes our guide He insists that we trust Hm without reservations and put aside all nervousness about His guidance. We are sent along the path He has chosen for us, BUT WE CANNOT SEE IT, and nothing we have read is any help to us. Were we acting on our own we should have to rely on our experience. It would be too risky to do anything else. But it is very different when God acts with us. Divine action is always NEW and FRESH, it never retraces its steps, but always finds new routes. When we are led by this action, we have no idea where we are going, for the paths we tread cannot be discovered from books or by any of our thoughts. But these paths are always opened in front of us and WE ARE IMPELLED along them.
Imagine we are in a strange district at night and are crossing fields unmarked by any path, but have a guide. He asks no advice nor tells us of his plans. So what can we do except trust Him? It is no use trying to see where we are, look at maps or question passers-by. That would not be tolerated by a guide who WANTS us to rely on him. He will get satisfaction from overcoming our fears and doubts, and will insist that we have COMPLETE TRUST in Him.
God's activity can never by anything but GOOD, and does not need to be reformed or controlled. It began at the creation of the world and up to now has continued with the SAME ENERGY which knows no limits. Its fertility is inexhaustible. It does one thing today, another tomorrow, yet it is the same activity which every moment produces constantly fresh results, and it WILL CONTINUE throughout eternity. (I.E. GOD'S AWESOME PROVIDENCE)
It [God's activity] produced Abel, Noah, and Abraham - all different types. Isaac is also ORIGINAL (JUST AS YOU ARE, NO ONE COULD EVER REPLACE YOU IN GOD'S EYES). Jacob is not the duplicate of him, nor is Joseph a facsimile of Jacob. Moses is different from his ancestors. David and the prophets bear no resemblance to the patriarchs. John the Baptist stands alone. Jesus Christ is the first-born, and the Apostles are moved more by guidance of His spirit than by imitating His works.
Jesus Christ did not restrict Himself, for He did not follow all His own precepts literally. His most holy soul was always inspired by the Holy Spirit and always responsive to its slightest breath. He never had to consult the moment that had passed to know what to do in the coming one, for HIS EVERY MOMENT was conditioned by the breath of grace according to those ETERNAL TRUTHS CONTAINED IN THE INVISIBLE AND UNFATHOMABLE WISDOM OF THE HOLY TRINITY.
His soul received its orders constantly and carried them out in His daily life. The Gospel LETS US SEE the EFFECT of these truths in the life of Jesus Christ, always ALIVE and ACTIVE, who CONTINUES TO LIVE AND WORK fresh wonders in the souls of those who love Him.
If we wish to live according to the Gospel, WE MUST ABANDON OURSELVES SIMPLY and COMPLETELY to the ACTION of GOD. Jesus Christ is its SOURCE. He "is the same today as He was yesterday and as He will be forever" (Heb 13:8). What He has done is finished, what remains to be done is being carried on EVERY MOMENT. Every saint shares in this divine life, and Jesus Christ, though always the same, is different in each one. The life of each saint is the life of Jesus Christ. It is a new gospel."
*An excerpt written by Jean-Pierre De Caussade, S.J. from His book 'Abandonment to Divine Providence,' as appears in Fr. Benedict Groeschel's book, 'Arise from Darkness.' (Emphasis added)
If any of you have been following the latest in the cause for life and the current bill in congress right now, you'll want to know that America is fighting. This bill is facing one of the most heated debates in a long time, thanks pro-life Americans as well as our pro-life senators and representatives in congress.The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops released a new website today in opposition to the bill's pro-abortion segments. The website is aimed at providing valuable information as well as proposing what should be done regarding Health Care in the US.
The Health Care Reform Bill that has been presented by the President which includes abortion funding by taxpayers, will be mandated for everyone in the US. That means you would have no choice in supporting abortion through your taxes. Among other horrifying aspects of the bill, such as patient rationing, the worst is the attack on the unborn. The language of the bill is certainly rather underhanded and deceitful. They never word it as funding for killing a baby, and the word abortion is stealthily avoided.
For more information about what you can do click on the links provided throughout this post. And here.
Sunday, August 16, 2009
"Each one of us is called to be both a sacrifice to God and his priest...
I appeal to you by the mercy of God. This appeal is made by Paul, or rather, it is made by God through Paul, because of God's desire to be loved rather than feared, to be a father rather than a Lord. God appeals to us in his mercy to avoid having to punish us in his severity.
Listen to the Lord's appeal: In me, I want you to see your own body, your members, your heart, your bones, your blood. You may fear what is divine, but why not love what is human? You may run away from me as the Lord, but why not run to me as your father? Perhaps you are filled with shame for causing my bitter passion. Do not be afraid.This cross inflicts a mortal injury, not on me, but on death. These nails no longer pain me, but only deepen your love for me. I do not cry out because of these wounds, but through them I draw you into my heart. My body was stretched out on the cross as a symbol, not of how much I suffered, but of my all-embracing love. I count it no loss to shed my blood: it is the price I have paid for your ransom. Come, then, return to me and learn to know me as your father, who repays good for evil, love for injury, and boundless charity for piercing wounds.
Listen now to what the Apostle urges us to do. I appeal to you, he says, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice. By this exhortation of his, Paul has raised all men to priestly status.
How marvelous is the priesthood of the Christian, for he is both the victim that is offered on his own behalf, and the priest who makes the offering. He does not need to go beyond himself to seek what he is to immolate God: with himself and in himself he brings the sacrifice he is to offer God for himself. The victim remains and the priest remains, always one and the same. Immolated, the victim still lives: the priest who immolates cannot kill. Truly is is an amazing sacrifice in which a body is offered without being slain and blood is offered without being shed.
The Apostle says: I appeal to you by the mercy of God to present your bodies as a living sacrifice. Brethren, this sacrifice follows the pattern of Christ's sacrifice by which he gave his body as a living immolation for the life of the world. He really made his body a living sacrifice, because, though slain, he continues to live. In such a victim death receives its ransom, but the victim remains death for the martyrs is actually a birth, and their end a beginning. Their execution is the door to life, and those who were thought to have been blotted out from the earth shine brilliantly in heaven.
Paul says: I appeal to you by the mercy of God to present your bodies as a sacrifice, living and holy. The prophet said the same thin: Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but you have prepared a body for me. Each of us is called to be both a sacrifice to God and his priest. Do not forfeit what divine authority confers on you. Put on the garment of holiness, gird yourself with the belt of chastity. Let Christ be your helmet, let the cross on your forehead be your unfailing protection. Your breastplate should be the knowledge of God that he himself has given you. Keep burning continually the sweet=smelling incense of prayer. Take up the sword of the Spirit. Let your heart be an altar. Then, with full confidence in God, present your body for sacrifice, God desires not death, but faith; God thirsts not for blood, but for self-surrender; God is appeased not by slaughter, but by the offering of your free will."
Wow...so if you were able to get a chance to read through this...there is definitely some very cool points Saint Peter Chrysologus is making. I will humbly try to make light of a couple....
First, that God loves us and Desires to love us as Our Father! How wonderful that we have the privilege and right through the blood of Jesus Christ to share in this relationship! "Why not run to me as your father?" I love this! St. Thereze says something similar in that we should not so much desire to be at the feet of Jesus (though this is a beautiful place to start), but rather to run into His Arms!
"Do not be afraid...these nails no longer pain me, but only deepen your love for me. I do not cry out because of these wounds, but through them I draw YOU into MY HEART. My body was stretched out on the cross as a symbol, not of how much I suffered, but of my all-embracing LOVE!" How great is Jesus' love for us!!
Second point, that we are called to offer ourselves as a LIVING SACRIFICE for God. We are temples of the Holy and Living Spirit of God! HE died on the cross, and rose, giving us HIS BODY as bread, that HE MAY DWELL IN US!! That is one wonderful reason for why we must desire to receive Holy Communion!
Third, have confidence in this relationship with Christ! Since we are called to be sons and daughters of Christ, and His SPIRIT dwells in US, there is strength in this! "Do not forfeit what divine authority confers on you. Put on the garment of Holiness..." "Be not afraid!" Take up the graces that Christ offers us as His Chosen Ones! Through faith, prayer, and self-surrender, give yourself to Christ who has Loved us!
Watch the Lamb: Ray Boltz
Walking on the road to Jerusalem,
The time had come to sacrifice again,
My two small sons,
They walk beside me on the road,
The reason that they came
was to watch the lamb.
What will we see there,
There's so much that we
So I told them of Moses
and father Abraham,
Then I said dear
children watch the lamb,
There will be so many in
We must be sure the lamb
doesn't run away,
And I told them of Moses
and father Abraham,
Then I said dear
children watch the lamb.
When we reached the city,
I knew something must be wrong,
There were no joyful worshipers,
No joyful worship songs,
I stood there with my children
in the midst of angry men,
Then I heard the crowd cry out
We tried to leave the city
but we could not get away,
Forced to play in this drama
a part I did not wish to play,
Why upon this day
were men condemned to die,
Why were we standing here,
Where soon they would pass by.
I looked and said, even now they come,
The first one cried for mercy,
The people gave him none,
The second man was violent,
He was arrogant and loud,
I still can hear his angry voice
screaming at the crowd,
Then someone said there's Jesus,
I scarce believed my eyes,
A man so badly beaten,
He barely looked alive,
Blood poured from His body,
From the thorns upon His brow,
Running down the cross,
Falling to the ground.
I watched Him as He struggled,
I watched Him as He fell,
The cross came down upon His back,
The crowd began to yell,
In that moment I felt such agony,
In that moment I felt such loss,
Till a Roman soldier grabbed my arm
and screamed, you! carry His cross.
At first I tried to resist him,
Then his hand reached for his sword,
So I knelt and took
the cross from the Lord,
I placed it on my shoulder,
And started down the street,
The blood that he'd been shedding
was running down my cheek.
They led us to Golgotha,
They drove nails
deep in His feet and hands,
Yet upon the cross I heard Him pray
Father, forgive them.
Oh, never have I seen such love
in any other eyes,
Into thy hands I commend my spirit
He prayed and the He died.
I stood for what seemed like years,
I'd lost all sense of time
until I felt two tiny hands
holding tight to mine,
The children stood there weeping,
I heard the oldest say,
Father please forgive us,
the lamb ran away.
What have we seen here,
There's so much
that we don't understand,
So I took them in my arms,
we turned and faced the cross,
Then I said dear children
watch the Lamb.
Saturday, August 15, 2009
Well it's certainly popping up more recently in the news. These surveys are pointing out what my generation indeed is searching for in the way of religious orders. It's fitting too, that this is becoming more recognized as visitations from the Holy See are being conducted of all the apostolic religious orders of women in the United States. Perhaps those orders that got rid of the habit as well as certain traditional practices, after Vatican II, will want to re-think that policy; that is if they want to keep their order from dying out.
Too often I think certain orders are trying to rope in people based on their charism alone. Unfortunately many orders like this are really not advocating a true charism at all, but rather some kind of social activism. Unfortunately I've encountered this first hand in my discernment. As a religious, the primary vocation and FOCUS is love of God. It's sad that some orders have forgotten this.
The younger generation looking at vocations to the religious (consecrated) life, that I am a part of, can see right through the fake authenticity. We can tell when an order IS authentically Catholic and dedicated to their primary vocation, and loyal to the Church. I pray that the visitations underway will both enliven and renew religious life in the US, especially of those orders which have fallen away from traditional values and faithfulness to the Church. The Holy Spirit is indeed at work! Watch out! You might just start to see A LOT more young Catholics choosing religious life!
Friday, August 14, 2009
"The miracle of the Resurrection is the foundation of our faith. The disciples of Jesus were weak; even though they had seen many miracles, at the time of his arrest they all abandoned him. Only when Jesus had risen was their faith confirmed, and were they given the courage to endure suffering and persecution."
- St. Maximilian Kolbe Feb. 11, 1938 (Conference)
St. Maximillian Mary Kolbe, Pray for us!
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
On the Royal Road of the Cross
"Anyone who wishes to follow Me must deny self, take up the cross, and follow Me." (Mt 16:24)
Why are you afraid to take up your cross, since it is the only way to the kingdom of heaven? In the cross is salvation and life; in the cross is defense against our enemies. Through the cross heavenly sweetness is poured into our souls, our minds are strengthened and we experience spiritual joy.
In the cross is the height of virtue and the perfection of all sanctity. Without the cross there is no salvation for our souls, nor hope of life eternal. Take your cross, then, and follow Jesus, and you will go into everlasting life.
Remember that Jesus has gone before you bearing His cross and has given His life for you upon that cross, so that you may bear your own cross and long to die on it for love of Him. For if you die with Him, you will also live with Him; and if you have shared His suffering, you will also share His glory.
Behold now in the cross there is all and how all depends on our dying there; for there is no other way to life and interior peace except by way of the cross and by daily mortification. You can go anywhere you will, seek whatever you wish, but you will not find a higher road above nor safer road below than the road of the holy cross.
No matter how you plan things and arrange them to your liking, you will find something to suffer, either willingly or unwillingly, and so you will always find the cross. Either you will suffer bodily pain, or you will endure in your soul tribulation of spirit.
Sometimes God will leave you to your own devices and sometimes your neighbor will irritate you; and what is worse, you will often be a trouble to your own self. No remedy or comfort can free you from this affliction or make it easier for your to bear; you simply have to bear your cross as long as God wills it.
God wants you to learn to suffer tribulation without comfort and, submitting yourself entirely to Him, to grow in humility through tribulation. No one so deeply feels what Christ endured as one who has had to suffer as He did. The cross is always ready and waits everywhere for you; you cannot escape it no matter where you turn.
Wherever you go, you take yourself with you and will always meet yourself face to face. Look upward or downward, within yourself or without; everywhere you will find the cross. And everywhere you must be patient if you desire interior peace and to merit a crown in heaven.
If you carry your cross willingly, it will carry you and bring you to your longed-for end, where there will be no more suffering - though this will not happen on earth. If you carry it grudgingly, it will become a burden and a heavier wight for you to carry, and yet you must bear it.
If you reject one cross, be sure that you will find another, perhaps a heavier one.
Do you think you can escape that which no human being has been able to avoid? What Saint in this world was ever without the cross and without suffering?
Certainly our Lord, Jesus Christ, as long as He lived on earth, was never one hour without sorrow and anguish. "Was it not necessary that the Messiah," He said, "should suffer these things and so enter into His glory?" (Lk 24:26). Then how can you seek any other road than this royal road, the road of the holy cross?
Christ's whole life was a cross and martyrdom; and do you expect pleasure and enjoyment for yourself? You make a grave mistake if you look for anything other than suffering; for this mortal life of ours is full of misery and surrounded with crosses.
The higher persons advance in the way of perfection, the heavier will they often find crosses to be. This is because the more their love of God grows, the more painful is their exile from God.
However, though such persons are afflicted in many ways, they do not lack entirely the relief of consolations; for they are aware of the great reward they reap by bearing their cross. And when they willingly submit themselves to it, their burden of suffering is turned into confidence that they will receive consolation from God.
The weaker the flesh becomes through affliction, the stronger the spirit is made by inward grace. And so it often happens that these persons gains so much strength through their desire of adversity and affliction in order to be conformed to the Crucified Christ, that they are unwilling to be without such sorrow and affliction. They are convinced that the more they can bear for love of Christ, the more pleasing they will be in God's eyes.
It is not by their own strength, but through the grace of Christ - which can and does have such a powerful effect on human frailty - that human beings can choose and even love that which by nature they hate and reject.
It is not the tendency of human beings to bear the cross and to love it, to chastise the body and to subdue it, to flee honors and to put up with reproaches, to despise themselves and to wish others to despise them, to bear all opposition and losses and not to desire any prosperity in this world.
If you trust in yourself, you will never accomplish this; but if you put your trust in God, you will be given strength from heaven, and the world and the flesh will be made subject to your command. If you are armed with faith and marked with the cross of Christ, you will not fear your enemy, the devil; for he will have no power over you.
Steel yourself, as a faithful servant of Christ, bravely to bear the cross of your Lord, Who out of love for you was nailed to the cross. Prepare yourself, then, to suffer all kinds of adversities and inconveniences in the this wretched life; for you cannot avoid them no matter where you hide. So it is in life, and there is no avenue of escape but to keep yourself in patience.
If you desire to be our Lord's dear friend and to share what is His, then you must drink heartily of His chalice. As for consolations, leave those to His will and He will arrange them as He sees best for you.
But be you prepared to suffer tribulations and to consider them the greatest comforts, saying with St. Paul: "I consider that the sufferings of Christ we presently endure are miniscule in comparison with the glory to be revealed in us" (Rom 8:18), even though you alone were able to endure it all.
When you reach the degree of patience that tribulation is sweet to you and even relished for Christ, then you may trust that all is well with you, for you have found paradise on earth.
But as long as suffering plagues you and you seek to run away from it, then you will know htat it is not well with you. You are a long way from perfect patience and the tribulation you flee will follow you everywhere.
If you resolve to do what you ought, that is, to suffer and to die to yourslef, things will go better with you and you will find peace.
Even though you may have been caught up to the third heaven with St. Paul, you are not on that account free from adversity; for our Lord, speaking of St. Paul, said: "I myself will show him how much he will have to suffer for the sake of My Name." (Acts 9:16) If you would love our Lord and serve Him constantly, then suffering remains your lot.
Oh that you were worthy to suffer something for the Name of Jesus! What great glory would await you, what great rejoicing among all the Saints, and, moreover, what great edificaiton to your neighbor!
All human beings commend patience, but how few there are who desire to suffer! You should be wiling to suffer a little for Christ, since many suffer far greater thins for the world.
Be sure of this, that you must lead a dying life; and the more you die to yourself here, the more you will begin to live to God. No one is worthy to understand heavenly things unless that person has first learned to bear afflicitons for Christ.
Nothing is more pleasing to God, or more profitable for you, than to suffer gladly for Christ. And if you would become more like Christ and follow the example of the Saints. Our merit and progress in the spiritual life does not consist in the enjoyment of consolations and heavenly sweetness, but rather in bearing adversities and afflictions.
Had there been a better way than suffering for the good of a person's soul, our Lord would certainly have shown it by word and example. but since there was not, He clearly urged His disciples and all those who wished to follow Him to carry the cross, saying: "Anyone who wishes to folow Me mus deny self, take up the cross daily, and follow Me." (Lk 9:23)
Therefore, when we have read and searched out all htings, we come to the final conclusion, that "It is necessary for us to undergo many hardships before we enter the kingdom of God" (Acts 14:22). And may our Lord, Jesus Christ, bring us there.
"The Maker of man, the Wisdom of God, has come, not in strength but in weakness...Instead of wealth, He has come poor; instead of honor, He has come in ignominy; instead of blessedness, He has come to suffer...He....has shed His whole blood in satisfaction [for our sin] when a SINGLE DROP might have sufficed."
- Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman
I am 23, Catholic, and currently looking for a full-time job after graduating from college last December. I have a bachelor's with a major in Spanish, and a minor in Sociology. I am also discerning religious life right now, so if you feel inclined to pray for me, I definitely appreciate it. I'm doing my best to follow Christ each day, and I know that God has amazing plans in my future. :) I can't wait to see what happens.
Much love of Jesus to all who visit here,