Monday, August 31, 2009

Format changes...

A quick note to viewers...I apologize for the many format changes! Please note I will be updating and formating every so often. Trying out new looks and designs. At least you won't get bored!
Blessings in Jesus to you!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

"The Giver" and Spiritual Poverty

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 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."
"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

What clay desires, in the hands of the Potter

"...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

What I desire could be considered quite plain, I want to go to Heaven and be with Jesus. And if God wished that to be sooner rather than later, that would be fine by me. Now, I'm not being morbid here, I just love God, and want to be as close to Him as possible, which ultimately is to be with Him in Paradise. But, in terms of life on earth, my desire, is to become a nun.

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[?] 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

A Poem, and happenings in my life....

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.


Why I Must Suffer

 The drops of blood You lost
On the way to Calvary
 Encompassed the whole world
And yet were shed for me

What were You thinking Jesus,
When You prayed in Gethsemane?
What made your tears fall,
So heavily?

Could it have been,
For sinners?
Like me?

The crowd that day
Must have been fierce
When for me
You endured the sneers

You uttered not a word
 Of What You had not done

Cast a glance of Love
On those, like me,
Who would give you none

You were past exhaustion,
When my sins
Pressed the thorns
Upon Your head

When carrying the wood
You fell thrice
So I would remember
How to follow One crucified

For next, a man
Pounded in the nails.
And God made Man
Became frail

Didn’t they see the purity,
The sorrow,
And the Love,
In Your eyes?

If I had been there,
Hanging by Your side
If I was that man
Would I?

Finally, near the end,
Raising Your eyes to Heaven
You gave up Your spirit with a cry

The Savior of the World,

Now I remember
Your bitter Passion Lord
But I must recall too

And You promised to return,

As Jesus rose
So shall I
And those who believe

But I must learn
To follow Him,
On earth
Through Suffering

It is the only way,
Through Calvary,
That Jesus brings us
To Eternity

For me,
He chose to die
Tore His Heart asunder,

So I come to understand
And begin to remember,
That I am to be
Like my Maker

And that is why,
As His daughter,
Like Him,
I must suffer.

(*note, Poem subject to copyright infringement)

Monday, August 17, 2009

Makes you think...

I first heard this recited by Archbishop Fulton Sheen and had to look it up to post it here. This poem was written by a man who served in the front lines in WWI as an army chaplain, he was an Anglican priest. He lived in England, and so the town of Birmingham references Birmingham, England. 

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.

The Silent Guide

For those of you who may be struggling or know someone who are some profound words. May they help you as they did me. God Bless.

"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)

USCCB Launches Website Concerning Health Care

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.

Catholic Mass Music Video

For anyone trying to understand the mystery of the Eucharist...First, open your heart and allow God to come in. Perhaps this video will help too.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

On God's Love and our sacrifice

*Taken from The Office of Readings for Tuesday, May 5th

"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." 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

If you'd like to view the video on youtube: Watch the Lamb

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.

Daddy, daddy,
What will we see there,
There's so much that we
don't understand,
So I told them of Moses
and father Abraham,
Then I said dear
children watch the lamb,

There will be so many in
Jerusalem today,
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
Crucify Him.

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.

Daddy, daddy,
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

Young vocations want tradition, faithfulness to Church

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

St. Maximillian Mary Kolbe

So thought I'd post today's Saint. His story is remarkable. He followed our Lord to the end, taking the place of a fellow prisoner at Auschwitz sentenced to be stripped, locked away, and starved to death. See the link here.

"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 Suffering

I've been meaning to share this for a while. The world tells us, especially in our culture today, "Please yourself, Make yourself happy, You deserve it, You don't have to go through that." All Lies. Truly. If you understand the meaning of suffering and why we must imitate Christ, who suffered much for love of us. This passage, from the Imitation of Christ by Thomas A. Kempis, has really helped me to understand more deeply that we must suffer, if we want to follow Christ. I have put in bold parts that really stood out to me. I hope it helps you as it did me.

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 ma
n, 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

First Post

Wow...can't believe I've never gotten into the official world of "blogging." I suppose it's time. :) I know it's a good way to share what's going on in my life, and maybe even encourage others as well. So, here's a bit about me and what's going on in my life right now.

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,