Wednesday, December 14, 2011

"The gate...is the Cross..."















"...it is quite impossible to reach the thicket of the riches and wisdom of God except by first entering the thicket of much suffering, in such a way that the soul finds there its consolation and desire. The soul that longs for divine wisdom chooses first, and in truth, to enter the thicket of the cross." 
~St. John of the Cross

Friday, December 9, 2011

Food for Thought & Peace for the Heart

‎"Do not look forward to changes and chances of this life in fear; rather look to them with full hope that, as they arise, God will deliver you out of them. He has kept you hitherto - do you but hold fast to His dear hand, and He will lead you safely through all things; and when you cannot stand, He will bear you in His arms. 


Do not look forward to what may happen tomorrow; the same everlasting Father Who cares for you today will take care of you tomorrow and every day. Either He will shield you from suffering, or He will give you unfailing strength to bear it. Be at peace, then, and put aside all anxious thoughts and imaginations." 


~St. Francis de Sales

St. Juan Diego

From the Vatican Website: St Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin (1474-1548)

"Little is known about the life of Juan Diego before his conversion, but tradition and archaelogical and iconographical sources, along with the most important and oldest indigenous document on the event of Guadalupe, "El Nican Mopohua"(written in Náhuatl with Latin characters, 1556, by the Indigenous writer Antonio Valeriano), give some information on the life of the saint and the apparitions.

Juan Diego was born in 1474 with the name "Cuauhtlatoatzin" ("the talking eagle") in Cuautlitlán, today part of Mexico City, Mexico. He was a gifted member of the Chichimeca people, one of the more culturally advanced groups living in the Anáhuac Valley.

When he was 50 years old he was baptized by a Franciscan priest, Fr Peter da Gand, one of the first Franciscan missionaries. On 9 December 1531, when Juan Diego was on his way to morning Mass, the Blessed Mother appeared to him on Tepeyac Hill, the outskirts of what is now Mexico City. She asked him to go to the Bishop and to request in her name that a shrine be built at Tepeyac, where she promised to pour out her grace upon those who invoked her. The Bishop, who did not believe Juan Diego, asked for a sign to prove that the apparition was true. On 12 December, Juan Diego returned to Tepeyac. Here, the Blessed Mother told him to climb the hill and to pick the flowers that he would find in bloom. He obeyed, and although it was winter time, he found roses flowering. He gathered the flowers and took them to Our Lady who carefully placed them in his mantle and told him to take them to the Bishop as "proof". When he opened his mantle, the flowers fell on the ground and there remained impressed, in place of the flowers, an image of the Blessed Mother, the apparition at Tepeyac.

With the Bishop's permission, Juan Diego lived the rest of his life as a hermit in a small hut near the chapel where the miraculous image was placed for veneration. Here he cared for the church and the first pilgrims who came to pray to the Mother of Jesus.

Much deeper than the "exterior grace" of having been "chosen" as Our Lady's "messenger", Juan Diego received the grace of interior enlightenment and from that moment, he began a life dedicated to prayer and the practice of virtue and boundless love of God and neighbour. He died in 1548 and was buried in the first chapel dedicated to the Virgin of Guadalupe. He was beatified on 6 May 1990 by Pope John Paul II in the Basilica of Santa Maria di Guadalupe, Mexico City.

The miraculous image, which is preserved in the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, shows a woman with native features and dress. She is supported by an angel whose wings are reminiscent of one of the major gods of the traditional religion of that area. The moon is beneath her feet and her blue mantle is covered with gold stars. The black girdle about her waist signifies that she is pregnant. Thus, the image graphically depicts the fact that Christ is to be "born" again among the peoples of the New World, and is a message as relevant to the "New World" today as it was during the lifetime of Juan Diego."

St. Juan Diego, Pray for us!

Go here to see Blessed John Paul II's Homily for the canonization of St. Juan Diego.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Author Spotlight and St. Therese of Lisieux

I have recently heard of Heather King, and am very interested in reading two of her memoirs, including Shirt of Flame (her walk with St. Therese of Lisieux), and Redeemed (her story). This video clip is from a recent interview WordOnFire posted. Check out her website and blog to learn more.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

A Martyr for Christ

"Does our life become from day to day more painful, more oppressive, more replete with afflictions? Blessed be He a thousand times who desires it so. If life be harder, love makes it also stronger, and only this love, grounded on suffering, can carry the Cross of my Lord Jesus Christ. Love without egotism, without relying on self, but enkindling in the depth of the heart an ardent thirst to love and suffer for all those around us: a thirst that neither misfortune nor contempt can extinguish…

I believe, O Lord; but strengthen my faith… Heart of Jesus, I love Thee; but increase my love. Heart of Jesus, I trust in Thee; but give greater vigor to my confidence. Heart of Jesus, I give my heart to Thee; but so enclose it in Thee that it may never be separated from Thee. Heart of Jesus, I am all Thine; but take care of my promise so that I may be able to put it in practice even unto the complete sacrifice of my life." 

~Blessed Padre Miguel Austin Pro SJ (composed shortly before he was martyred.)

¡Viva Cristo Rey!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Immaculate Conception Novena

Starting November 29th, I am joining over 6,000 Catholics to pray the Immaculate Conception Novena.
I’m looking forward to the answered prayers from this amazing saint! With so many faithful Catholics around the world praying this novena, I thought you’d like to join too. :)
Do you have any special petitions to bring to Mary?
You can sign up for handy email reminders to get the the novena prayers here: Immaculate Conception Novena
Let’s get all the Catholics we know to pray this novena together for the Immaculate Conception!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Quote of the Day: Mercy

"...It becomes more evident that love is transformed into mercy when it is necessary to go beyond the precise norm of justice...

Mercy - as Christ has presented it in the parable of the prodigal son - has the interior form of the love that in the New Testament is called agape. This love is able to reach down to every prodigal son, to every human misery, and above all to every form of moral misery, to sin. When this happens, the person who is the object of mercy does not feel humiliated, but rather found again and "restored to value." The father first and foremost expresses to him his joy that he has been "found again" and that he has "returned to life. This joy indicates a good that has remained intact: even if he is a prodigal, a son does not cease to be truly his father's son...

The parable of the prodigal son expresses in a simple but profound way the reality of conversion. Conversion is the most concrete expression of the working of love and of the presence of mercy in the human world. The true and proper meaning of mercy does not consist only in looking, however penetratingly and compassionately, at moral, physical or material evil: mercy is manifested in its true and proper aspect when it restores to value, promotes and draws good from all the forms of evil existing in the world and in man. Understood in this way, mercy constitutes the fundamental content of the messianic message of Christ and the constitutive power of His mission. His disciples and followers understood and practiced mercy in the same way. Mercy never ceased to reveal itself, in their hearts and in their actions, as an especially creative proof of the love which does not allow itself to be "conquered by evil," but overcomes "evil with good."

The genuine face of mercy has to be ever revealed anew. In spite of many prejudices, mercy seems particularly necessary for our times."

~Blessed John Paul II, Dives en Misericordia

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

PRAYER

Funny and witty, practical and helpful.
All in all an excellent talk by Dr. Peter Kreeft on prayer:

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Fr. Barron comments on All Saints Day

Bl. JPII on St. Thérèse of Lisieux: Widsom of Her Doctorship

"One can say with conviction about Thérèse of Lisieux that the Spirit of God allowed her heart to reveal directly to the people of our time the fundamental mystery, the reality of the Gospel...Her "Little Way" is the way of "holy childhood". There is something unique in this way, the genius of St. Thérèse of Lisieux. At the same time there is the confirmation and renewal of the most basic and most universal truth. What truth of the Godspel message is really more basic and more universal than this: God is our Father and we are His children?" ~Blessed John Paul II (Visit to Lisieux - 1980)

"Thérèse is also a contemplative. In the hiddenness of her Carmel she lived the great adventure of Christian experience to the point of knowing the breadth, length, height and depth of Christ's love (cf. Eph 3:18-19)...By her life Thérèse offers a witness and theological illustration of the beauty of the contemplative life as the total dedication to Christ, Spouse of the Church...Hers is a hidden life which possesses a mysterious fruitfulness for spreading the Gospel and fills the Church and the world with the sweet odor of Christ. (cf. LT 169 2v) ~Bl. JPII (Divini Amoris Scientia: The Science of Divine Love)

"Thérèse possesses an exceptional universality. Her person, the Gospel message of the "Little Way" of trust and spiritual childhood have received and continue to receive a remarkable welcome, which has transcended every border..." ~Bl. JPII (Divini Amoris Scientia)

Monday, October 24, 2011

Vocation in the words of Bl. JPII

"Do not be afraid of the radicalness of His demands, because Jesus, who loved us first, is prepared to give Himself to you, as well as asking of you. If He asks much from you, it is because He knows you can give much." ~Bl. JPII

"I would like to ask each one of you: What will you do with your life? What are your plans? Have you ever thought of committing your existence totally to Christ? Do you think that there can be anything greater than to bring Jesus to people and people to Jesus?"

"There is a wonderful way of experiencing love in life: it is the vocation to follow Christ in the celibate state freely chosen or in the state of virginity for the love of the kingdom of heaven. I ask each one of you to question yourselves seriously about whether God may not be calling yo uto one of these paths. And to all of those who suspect that they may have this possible personal vocation, I say: pray insistently to receive the needed clarity, but then reply with a joyful yes."

"Vocation is, therefore, a mystery that man accepts and lives in the depths of his being. A gift and a grace, it depends on supreme divine freedom and, in its total reality, it escapes our understanding. We cannot demand explanations from the Giver of all goods - "Why have you made me thus?" (Rom 9:20) because He who calls is also "He who is" (cf. Ex 3:14). Therefore, in the presence of a vocation we adore the mystery, we respond lovingly to the initiative of love, we say yes to the call."

"You ask me for encouragement and guidance, and most willingly I offer some words of advice to all of you in the name of Jesus Christ. In the first place I say this: you must never think that you are alone in deciding your future! And second: when deciding your future, you must not decide for yourself alone!"

"If some of you hear the call to follow Christ more closely, to dedicate your entire heart to Him, like the apostles John and Paul, be generous, do not be afraid, because you have nothing to fear when the prize that you await is God Himself..."

"How can this be? That is a good question. Our Blessed Lady, Mary of Nazareth, asked that same very question when God's extraordinary plan for her life was first explained to her. And the answer which Mary received from Almighty God is the identical answer that He gives to you: "The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Most High will cover you with Its shadow...nothing is impossible to God" (Lk 1:34-37).

"Is Jesus perhaps repeating to some of you today: "There is one thing you lack"? Is he perhaps asking for even more love, more generosity, more sacrifice? Yes, the love of Christ involves generosity and sacrifice. To follow Christ and to serve the world in His name requires courage and strength. There is no place for selfishness - and no place for fear! Do not be afraid, then, when love makes demands. Do not be afraid when love requires sacrifice."

"To each one of you I say, therefore: Heed the call of Christ when you hear Him saying to you: "Follow Me!" Walk in My path! Stand by My side! Remain in My love!...Real love is demanding. I would fail in my mission if I did not clearly tell you so. Love demands effort and a personal commitment to the will of God."

"Young people of the world, hear His voice! Hear His voice and follow Him!"


*All quotes taken from The Meaning of Vocation: In the Words of John Paull II

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Joseph's Lullaby

I know Christmas is far from here, but I was thinking of our Lord as a little baby tonight, and listened to this song. How great is the humility of our God in coming to us as a little Child!



The Lyrics are Beautiful:

Go to sleep my Son
This manger for your bed
You have a long road before You
Rest Your little head

Can You feel the weight of Your glory?
Do You understand the price?
Does the Father guard Your heart for now
So You can sleep tonight?

Go to sleep my Son
Go and chase Your dreams
This world can wait for one more moment
Go and sleep in peace

I believe the glory of Heaven
Is lying in my arms tonight
Lord, I ask that He for just this moment
Simply be my child

Go to sleep my Son
Baby, close Your eyes
Soon enough You'll save the day
But for now, dear Child of mine
Oh my Jesus, Sleep tight

Are You "Wasting" Your Life?





Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Memorial of the North American Martyrs



"My God, it grieves me greatly that you are not known, that in this savage wilderness all have not been converted to you, that sin has not been driven from it. My God, even if all the brutal tortures which prisoners in this region must endure should fall on me, I offer myself most willingly to them and I alone shall suffer them all." 
~St. John de Brebeuf 
(Priest and Martyr)




+French Jesuits, Isaac Jogues, John de Brebeuf, Gabriel Lalemant, Noel Chabanel, Charles Garnier, Anthony Daniel and laymen Rene Goupil and John de Lalande were the first missionaries preached the gospel to the Iroquois and Huron Indians in Canada and North America.

(Taken from the Office of Readings for the LOTH)

Monday, October 17, 2011

10,000 “Impossible” Novenas to St. Jude!

St. Jude Novena

Starting Wednesday, I am joining over 5,000 Catholics to pray the St. Jude Novena!
I’m looking forward to the answered prayers from this amazing saint! With so many faithful Catholics around the world praying this novena, I thought you’d like to join too!
Do you have any ‘impossible causes’ to pray for?
You can sign up for handy email reminders to get the the novena prayers here: St. Jude Novena
Now that you’ve signed up, I’d like you ask you a little favor. We are trying to get 10,000 people to pray this novena together. Right now, there are about 5,200 signed up. Will you help me get more?
Here’s what you can do:
+ Go to the Facebook event here and invite all your Catholic friends.
+ If you have a website, post about it there!
Email your friends and family and get them praying too!
Let’s get all the Catholics we know to pray this novena together to St. Jude!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Feast of the "Servant of Mercy"

Happy Feast of St. Faustina Kowalska!

"You should not worry too much about adversities. The world is not as powerful as it seems to be; its strength is strictly limited.. Know, my daughter, that if your soul is filled with the fire of My pure love, then all difficulties dissipate like fog before the sun's rays and dare not touch the soul. All adversaries are afraid to start a quarrel with such a soul, because they sense that it is stronger than the whole world..." (Jesus to St. Faustina, 1643)


"Satan always takes advantage of [certain moments]; thoughts of discouragement began to rise to the surface - for your faithfulness and sincerity - this is your reward. How can one be sincere when one is so misunderstood? Jesus, ... I cannot go on any longer. Again I fell to the ground under the weight, and I broke out in a sweat, and fear began to overcome me. I had no one to lean on interiorly. Suddenly I heard a voice within my soul, Do not fear; I am with you. And an unusual light illumined my mind, and I understood that I should not give in to such sorrows. I was filled with a certain strength and left my cell with new courage to suffer." (129) 
"In the course of this retreat, the Lord has given me the light to know His will more profoundly...This light has confirmed me in profound peace, making me understand that I should fear nothing except sin." (St. Faustina, 1394)

"Daughter, when you go to confession, to this fountain of My mercy, the Blood and Water which came forth from My Heart always flows down upon your soul and ennobles it. Every time you go to confession, immerse yourself in My mercy, with great trust, so that I may pour the bounty of My grace upon your soul. When you approach the confessional, know this, that I Myself am waiting there for you. I am only hidden by the priest, but I myself act in your soul. Here the misery of the soul meets the God of mercy. Tell souls that from this fount of mercy souls draw graces solely with the vessel of trust. If their trust is great, there is no limit to My generosity. The torrents of grace inundate humble souls. The proud remain always in poverty and misery, because My grace turns away from them to humble souls." (Jesus to St. Faustina, 1602)

"My daughter, just as you prepare in My presence, so also you make your confession before Me. The person of the priest is, for Me, only a screen. Never analyse what sort of a priest it is that I am making use of; open your soul in confession as you would to Me, and I will fill it with My light." (Jesus to St. Faustina, 1725)

"My child, know that the greatest obstacles to holiness are discouragement and an exaggerated anxiety. These will deprive you of the ability to practice virtue. All temptations united together ought not disturb your interior peace, not even momentarily. Sensitiveness and discouragement are the fruits of self-love. Have confidence, My child. Do not lose heart in coming for pardon, for I am always ready to forgive you. As often as you beg for it, you glorify My mercy." (Jesus to St. Faustina, 1488)

Related Posts: St. Faustina QuotesDivine MercyOn the Life of St. Faustina

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Feast of St. Francis of Assisi

"Lord, make me an instrument 
of your peace;
Where there is hatred, 
let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy;
O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love;
For it is in giving that we receive,
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life."
Amen.


St. Francis, Pray for us!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Crown of Thorns by Danielle Rose


In honor of St. Therese's upcoming Feast day and her association with roses. <3 This is one of my favorite songs.

Monday, September 19, 2011

World Over - Raymond Arroyo with Fr Robert Barron on Catholicism series

Novena to St. Thérèse of Lisieux


In just a few days, I will be joining over 2,900 Catholics to pray the St. Thérèse Novena. I’m excited to pray this with so many faithful Catholics around the world and I thought you’d like to join too! There are thousands of people praying through this novena website and there will be millions praying around the world.
+ Sign up for handy email reminders to get the the novena prayers here: St. Thérèse Novena
+ If you have a website, post about it there!
+ Email your friends and family and get them praying too!
Let’s get all the Catholics we know to pray this novena together to St. Thérèse!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

"We Adore You o Christ and We Bless You, For By Your Holy Cross You Have Redeemed the World"

O Cross of Christ, immortal tree
On which our Savior died,
The world is sheltered by your arms
That bore the Crucified.

From bitter death and barren wood
The tree of life is made;
Its branches bear unfailing fruit
And leaves that never fade.

O faithful Cross, you stand unmoved
While ages run their course;
Foundation of the universe,
Creation's binding force.

Give glory to the risen Christ
And to his Cross give praise,
The sign of God's unfathomed love,
The hope of all our days.


By: The Benedictines of Stanbrook Abbey
Hymn, Morning Prayer, LOTH

*See other posts on the Feast of the Triumph of the Cross: The Glory of the CrossCross is Christ's Glory and Triumph

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Happy Birthday Blessed Mother!

"Hence the Mother of our Lord is announced. An angel foretells her birth. It was fitting that in this, too, she, who was to be the human Mother of the one true and living God, should be marked out above every one else..."

"In the fullness of time, as the divine apostle says, the angel Gabriel was sent to this true child of God, and saluted her in the words, "Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee." Beautiful is the angel's salutation to her who is greater than an angel..."

"...she who was worthy of grace had found it. She found grace who had done the deeds of race, and had reaped its fullness. She found grace who brought forth the source of grace, and was a rich harvest of grace. She found an abyss of grace who kept undefiled her double virginity, her virginal soul no less spotless than her body; hence her perfect virginity."

"Then the messenger of truth answered her: "The Holy Spirit shall come to thee, and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee. Therefore He who is born to thee shall be called the Son of God. '...And she, listening in holy reverence to that sacred name, which she had ever desired, signified her obedience in words full of humility and joy: "Behold the handmaid of the Lord. Be it done unto me according to thy word.'"

~St. John Damascene, Sermon I on the Dormition of Mary

Beginnings of Fall...





Sunday, September 4, 2011

Turning Things Around

"Amen, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." ~Mt 18:18

This line from the Gospel today really struck me. I've always interpreted this line to refer to the Sacrament of Reconciliation, that when our sins are forgiven by God through the Priest, whatever is forgiven in that Sacrament is no longer bound but loosed, and we are forgiven (coming from Mt 16:19 when Jesus gives this authority to St. Peter and successive apostles).

When the Holy Spirit turned on the "light bulb" today, I thought, what if Jesus had a more personal, and literal, interpretation for us? What if He meant that what we bind in our hearts, will be bound in heaven, and what we loose, will be loosed in heaven? This also goes back to the Sacrament of Reconciliation...because we must forgive our neighbor, and in turn, we will be forgiven (as we say in the Our Father). Jesus expects this of us. So we must not "bind" our sins, but "loose" them, through the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

But, could it go the opposite way? What about those things deep within our hearts that we "bind" to in love? The good within us that we hold on to? How much are we "bound" to God and His love in our hearts right now? What we bind on earth...is bound in heaven.

The same can go for what is loosed within our hearts. All the vices and impurities that we are able to overcome through God's grace. What have we been able to "loose?" What do we yet need to "loose" from our hearts? Whatever is loosed on earth...will be loosed in heaven.

I could be totally off here and just spinning my own incomprehensible jargon. But, perhaps, it's a perspective worth thinking about, and praying about.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Feast of St. Gregory the Great - Pope and Doctor of the Church

Thought this was beautiful and wanted to share it with you all.
~Christina

Hymn for today - Office of Readings - Common of Pastors

The earth is full of the goodness of Christ,
H feeds His lamb and guards His sheep,
He walks abroad as the Shepherd of souls,
And gathers all into His keep

We know the voice of our Pastor, the Lord,
He calls our names eternally,
Our hearts rejoice at the words that He speaks:
"And I know Mine and Mine know Me."

When danger comes all the hirelings will flee,
But Christ remains to guard our sleep,
When evil comes the Good Shepherd of souls
Lays down His life to save His sheep

We shall not want, for our Pastor is Christ,
He makes us lie in fields of Grace,
Where shorn of sin and refreshed by His love,
We gaze in prayer upon His face.


By Michael Gannon

Saturday, July 23, 2011

"Unrest When We Have Decisions to Make" What to do?

"The last reason that we are going to examine and which frequently causes us to lose our sense of peace is lack of certitude, the troubling of conscience that is experienced when it is necessary to make a decision and we are not able to see clearly. We are afraid to make a mistake that may have disturbing consequences, we are afraid that it may not be the will of the Lord.

Situations of this type can be very painful and certain dilemmas truly agonizing. The general stance of abandonment and confidence of which we have spoken, this approach of putting everything into the hands of God which enables us to avoid "dramatizing" anything (even the consequences that our errors might engender!) will be particularly precious in these situations of incertitude.

We would like, however, to make a few useful remarks for conserving our interor peace when making decisions.

The first thing to say (and this is in complete harmony with what we have said up to this point) is that, when faced with an important decision, one of the errors to avoid is that of being excessively hurried or precipitous. A certain deliberation is often necessary in order to properly consider things and to allow our hearts to orient themselves peaceably and gently toward a good solution. Saint Vincent de Paul made decisions that were presented to him after mature reflection (and above all prayer!), in such a way that some people who were close to him found him too slow to decide. But, one judges a tree by it's fruit!

Before making a decision, it is necessary to do what is appropriate to see the situation clearly and not to decide precipitously or arbitrarily. We need to analyse the situation with its different aspects and to consider our motivations in order to decide with a pure heart and not in an effort to serve our personal interests. We need to pray for the light of the Holy Spirit and the grace to act in conformity with the will of God and, if necessary, to ask the advice of people who can enlighten us relative to this decision.

In this regard, we must know that everyone will encounter, above all in the spiritual life, certain situations where one would not have sufficient light, would be incapable of making a necessary discernment or of making a determination in peace, without recourse to a spiritual advisor. The Lord does not want us to be self-sufficient and, as part of His pedagogy, He permits that sometimes we find ourselves in the impossibility of finding enlightenment and peace by ourselves; we cannot receive them except through the intermediary of another person to whom we can open up. There is in this opening up of the heart relative to questions that we ask ourselves or dilemmas that we try to solve, a disposition of humility and trust which greatly pleases the Lord and frequently renders harmless the traps that the enemy sets there to decieve or trouble us. Regarding this interior peace, which is so precious and of which we have spoken so much, we know that at certain moments in our lives we cannot find it by ourselves without the help of someone to whome we can open our souls. Saint Alphonsus Liguori was an uparalleled director souls, but with regard to that which concerned his own spiritual life, he was very often incapable of orienting himself with out the aid of someone to whom he opened himself and toward whom he was obedient.

Having said that, it is important to know one thing. Whatever the precautions (prayer, reflection, advice) that one uses to obtain enlightenment before making a decision and in order to be sure of doing God's will (it's a duty to take these precautions, becuase we do not have the right, above all in domains of importance, to decide lightly), one will not always receive this light in a clear and unambiguous manner. Confronted with a specific situation, we ask ourselves (and we must always do this!): "What must I do? What is the Lord's will?" We will not always have a response!

When we make this effort at discernment and search for God's will, often the Lord speaks to us in diverse ways and makes us understand in a clear way how we must act. Then we can make our decision in peace.

But, it may happen that the Lord does not respond to us. And this is completely normal. Sometimes, He simply leaves us free and sometimes, for reasons of His own, He does not manifest Himself. It is good to know this, because if often happens that people, for fear of making a mistake, of not doing the will of God, seek at any price to have an answer. They increase their reflections, their prayers, they open the Bible ten times looking for a text in order to obtain the desired enlightenment. And all this is torubling and disquieting more than anything else. We do not see things more clearly for all that; we have a text, but we don't know how to interpret it.

When the Lord leaves us thus in incertitutde, we must quietly accept it. Rather than wanting to "force things" and torment ourselves unnecessarily because we do not have an evident response, we must follow the principle that Saint Faustina offers us:

When one does not know what is best, one must reflect, consider and take counsel, because one does not have the right to act in a incertitude of conscience. In incertitude (if the incertitude remains) one must tell oneself: whatever I do, it will be good, provided that I have the intention to do good. That which we consider good, God accepts and considers as good. Don't be chagrined if, after a certain time, you see that these things are not good. God looks at the intention with which we begin and He grants the reward according to this intention. It is a principle that we must follow.

Often we torment ourselves excessively regarding our decisions. As there is a false humilty, a false compassion, we can also say that, concerning our decisions, there is sometimes that which one could call a "false obedience" to God. We would like always to be absolutely certain of doing God's will in all of our choices and never to be mistaken. But there is, in this attitude, something that is not exactly right for a variety of reasons.

For one thing, this desire to know what God wants sometimes hides a difficulty in enduring a situation of incertitude. We want to be released from having to decide by ourselves. But, frequently, the will of the Lord is that we do decide for ourselves, even if we are not absolutely sure that this decision would be the best. In effect, in this capacity to decide in incertitude, in doing that which seems to us best without spending hours equivocating, there is an attitude of confidence and abandonment: "Lord, I have thought about it and prayed to know Your will. I do not see it clearly, but I am not going to trouble myself any further. I am not going to spend hours racking my brain. I am decidding such and such a thing because, all things carefully considered, it seems to me the best thing to do. And I leave everything in Your hands. I know well that, even if I am mistaken, You will not be displeased with me, for I have acted with good intentions. and if I have made a mistake, I know that You are able to draw good from this error. It will be for me a source of humilty and I will learn something from it!" And I remain at peace.

For another thing, we would love to be infallible, to never be wrong, but there is a lot of pride in this desire and there is also the fear of being judged by others. The one, on the contrary, who accepts peacefully the idea of being wrong from time to time and accepts that others know it manifests true humility and a true love of God.

On the other hand, let us not have a false idea of what God requires of us. God is our Father, good and compassionate, Who knows the shortcomings of His children, the limitations of our judgment. He asks of us goodwill, the right intentions, but in no way does He demand that we would be infallible and that all of our decisions would be perfect! And additionally, if all our decisions were perfect, this would, without doubt, do us more harm than good! We would quickly take ourselves for supermen.

To conclude, the Lord loves him more who knows how to decide for himself without equivocating, even when he is uncertain, and who abandons himself with confidence to God as to the consequences, rather than the one who torments his spirit unceasingly in an effort to know what God expects of him and who never decides. Because, there is, in the first attitude, more abandonment, confidence and therefore love, than in the second. God loves those who make their way with freedom of spirit and who don't "split hairs" too much over the details. Perfectionism doesn't have much to do with sanctity.

It is important also to know well how to distinguish those cases where it is necessary to take time to discern and to decide, when it is a matter of decisions, for example, that affect our entire lives and the opposite cases where it would be stupid and contrary to the will of God to take too much time and too many precautions before deciding, when there is not much difference between one choice and another. As Saint Francis de Sales said, "If it is normal to weigh gold ingots with care, when it comes to small coins it is enough to make a quick evaluation." The devil, who is always seeking to disturb us, makes us ask ourselves, even in making the smallest decision, whether it is truly the will of the Lord or not to do thus and who creates unease, scruples and remorse of conscience for things that really aren't worth the trouble.

We must have a constant and profound desire to obey God. But this desire will be truly in accord with the Holy Spirit if it is accompanied by peace, interior freedom, confidence and abandonment and not if it is a source of trouble which paralyzes the conscience and prevents one from deciding freely.

It is true that the Lord can permit moments where this desire to obey Him causes real torment. There is also the case of persons who are scrupulous by temperament; this is a very painful trial from which the Lord never totally delivers them in this life.

But, it is still true that normally we must strive to advance along our path in such a fashion, in internal freedom and peace. And to know, as we have just said, that the devil tries passionately to trouble us. He is crafty and uses the desire we have to do God's will to disturb us. One must not let him "take advantage" of us. When one is far from God, the adversary tempts him with evil: he attracts him to the bad things. But when one is close to God, loves Him, desires nothing but to please and obey Him, the devil, while he tempts him still with evil (this is easy to recognize), he tempts him even further by good. This means that he makes use of our desire to do good to trouble us. He does this by making us scrupulous, or by presenting us with a certain good that we must realize but which is beyone our present strength, or which is not what God asks of us - all to discourage us or to cause us to lose our peace. He wants to convince us that we are not doing enough or that what we are doing we are not really doing for the love of God, or that the Lord is not happy with us, etc. He would make us believe, for instance, that the Lord is asking such and such a sacrifice of us that we are incapable of doing, and this will trouble us greatly. It creates all sorts of scruples and worries in the conscience which we should purely and simply ignore, while throwing ourselves into the arms of God like small children. When we lose peace for reasons similar to those we just mentioned, let us tell ourselves that the devil must be involved. Let's try to regain our calm and, if we cannot do it by ourselves, we should open up to a spiritual person. The mere fact of speaking to another person will generally be enough to make our confusion disappear completely and to bring back our peace.

Regarding this spirit of freedom that should animate us in all our actions and decisions, let us conclude by listening to Saint Francis de Sales:

Keep your heart open and always in the hands of Divine Providence, whether great things or small, and obtain for your heart more and more the spirit of gentleness and tranquility. (Letter to Mme. De la Flechere, 13 may 1609) The word that I spoke to you so often was that you should not be too particular in the excercise of virtues, rather that you should pursue them briskly, openly, naively, in an old-fashioned way, with liberty, sincerity and grosso modo. It is because I fear the spirit of constraint and melancholy. It is my wish that you should have a large and open heart on the way to our Lord."

*Taken from Searching for and Maintaing Peace: A Small Treatise on Peace of Heart by Jacques Philippe, SJ, Pg. 69-78

Monday, July 4, 2011

Living the "little way" of St. Thérèse

"We are living now in an age of inventions, and we no longer have to take the trouble of climbing stairs, for, in the homes of the rich, an elevator has replaced these very successfully. I wanted to find an elevator which would raise me to Jesus, for I am too small to climb the rough stairway of perfection. I searched, then, in the Scriptures for some sign of this elevator, the object of my desires, and I read these words coming from the mouth of Eternal Wisdom: "Whoever is a LITTLE ONE, let him come to me." And so I succeeded. I felt I had found what I was looking for...The elevator which must raise me to heaven is Your arms O Jesus! And for this I had no need to grow up, but rather I had to remain little and become this more and more." ~St. Thérèse of Lisieux

"...We step into the elevator of Jesus' arms by trying to climb the stairway of perfection. Yes, even if we can't climb these stairs, the way we step into Jesus' arms is by continuing to try to climb, by continuing to try to grow in virtue and holiness. Yet this kind of stepping up (stepping in) requires that we make our efforts with a different attitude than before. For, whereas before we may have gotten discouraged by our inability to climb the stairs, now we try not to. We accept that we might never even climb one stair! Nevertheless, we peacefully keep trying, knowing that Jesus comes down, lifts us up, and eventually carries us to the heights. We might not see him doing it, but he does. We might not feel like we're going anywhere, but we are. We might not think anything has changed, but it has.

Yes, the elevator of the Little Way is a bit strange. It's a way of holiness that doesn't seem to work. In other words, little souls who are in the elevator often look no different than other souls. They have vices and struggles and imperfections just like everyone else, but that's actually part of the Lord's strategy as he works in little souls: He likes to keep them little. He knows that if they were to see themselves bounding with great strides up the steep stairway of perfection, they suddenly wouldn't be so little, and so they wouldn't move hi Heart as deeply. They'd become big souls who don't feel the need to rely completely on Jesus for everything, and so they wouldn't reach those highest heights in heaven reserved for those who accept the lowest places here on earth. Yes, Jesus likes to keep little souls little, so he can give them the biggest gifts, and though it may seem like they don't make any progress, they actually do. Jesus just hides this fact from them.

...Maybe we don't have a single virtue in which we're big. Or do we? By the grace of God, little souls going the Little Way are big on trust. They trust in the mercy of God.They trust God's promise of mercy, the promise he'll satisfy the desires for holiness, even if it seems impossible. They trust in the merciful Heart of Jesus that, they know, can't resist their humble confidence. They trust, they trust, they trust. "

"My virtues are nothing; they are not what give me unlimited confidence that I feel in my heart. They are, to tell the truth, the spiritual riches that render one unjust, when one rests in them with complacence and when one believes they are something great...Ah! I really feel that it is not this at all that pleases God in my little soul; what pleases Him is that He sees me loving my littleness and my poverty, the blind hope that I have in His mercy...That is my only treasure..." ~St. Thérèse of Lisieux

"...understand that to love Jesus, to be His victim of love, the weaker one is, without desires or virtues, the more suited one is for the workings of this consuming and transforming Love...but we must consent to remain always poor and without strength, and this is the difficulty...let us love our littleness, let us love to feel nothing, then we shall be poor in spirit, and Jesus will come to look for us and He will transform us in flames of love...It is confidence and nothing but confidence that must lead us to love." ~St. Thérèse of Lisieux




*Excerpts from: Consoling the Heart of Jesus, by Michael E. Gaitley, MIC

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Who is Poorer than a Poor Old Person?

I'm still surprised, but suppose I shouldn't be, at how our culture continues to degrade the dignity of the human person at the different stages of life. Even though we are making headway in the pro-life movement, there is a long way to go, and there are many battles still to be fought and won; specifically that of the respect of life for the elderly in our society.

I've been volunteering with the Little Sisters of the Poor this summer in Washington DC, who care for the elderly poor. A common saying among the little sisters is: Who is poorer than a poor old person? I'm beginning to see how this can be so. And not only are many of our elderly poor, but they are in danger.

Recently I had a conversation with a little sister at how careful they have to be when one of their residents is hospitalized - because many times they are just not receiving good care, and there is always the looming danger of assisted suicide...even in medical facilities that are deemed "Catholic."

I can only hope and pray that our country sees how important and what a God given gift life is - in EVERY stage. As our population ages, assisted suicide may become an ever increasing threat. Remember to pray for the right to life and dignity of every human person from conception until natural death.

Here's a link to an article that just came out regarding this. The USCCB also has released a statement on some aspects of this issue. U.S. Bishops Target Physician-Assisted Suicide | Daily News | NCRegister.com

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Happy Birthday Blessed JPII!!!



I am privileged to share the birthday of a great man. Happy Birthday Blessed JPII!

Monday, May 16, 2011

On Holiness and Purity of Heart

"The Christian life is seen as a journey...where God's unselfish love reigns in our hearts. God is aware that we cannot journey alone, "for He sent the Holy Spirit upon all men that He might inspire them from within to love God...and that they might love one another as Christ loved them." This striving for the perfection of charity, this aiming at the immediate goal of purity of heart...is a journey into holiness.

All of us are to journey into holiness and purity of heart. It is easy to picture laymen saying parish priests are called to holiness, diocesan priests saying the religious orders are called to holiness, the religious saying the Trappists are called to holiness, the Trappists saying the Carthusians are called to holiness, the Carthusians saying only God is holy. This unholy passing of the buck is not the word of God.

"The Lord Jesus, the divine Teacher and Model of all perfections, preached holiness of life to each and every one of his disciples, regardless of their situation: 'You must therefore be perfect just as your heavenly Father is perfect (Mat 5:48).'"

Again the council fathers say, 'Thus it is evident to everyone that all the faithful of Christ of whatever rank or status are called to the fullness of the Christian life and to perfections of charity." The Vatican Council is the clearest statement ever that the journey into purity of heart is for each and every one of us."

~Joseph Breult, Seeking Purity of Heart: The Gift of Ourselves to God

*Emphasis added

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Girls, Hearts, Horses, and Fathers (a break from the routine of usual posts)

Image from: http://snowflakesandheartbeats.tumblr.com/
I was watching a movie that recently came out about a young girl, her father, horses, and a dream. Questions filled my mind as I watched, and listened for what God was speaking to my own heart.

What is it that touched me so when I saw this young girl being told by her father how much he loved her, would protect her, and was proud of her? Why, when she was told by everyone else to go one way, she listened to her heart and went another, why does this rock me to my core? What is it that makes my heart yearn to be out in the wilderness, and to experience that something...that something that is wild and untamed in the heart of our country...that somehow a horse holds the secret to?

There is something within the heart of us as women...something that we carry within as little girls, that never leaves as we grow with time. Something fierce, determined, a desire to fulfill that purpose that is destined for us, a role no one else can fill. This longing...to be free...that influences our hearts to love...and to be loved.

There is still something within me that yearns for this love, freedom, and adventure. All women, at some point I'm sure, recognize this within themselves. As little girls, we intuitively know...but somehow, as we grow up, so many of us loose that foresight. That integral knowing in our hearts...what we were made for, that we are loved, that it's ok to dream, and that we need our fathers.

I know in my heart, that I long for these things. I think sometimes that I may have been cheated, that I missed something...that without them, I can't truly understand who I am or where I am going. But then....then I am reminded. I am reminded that God is the ultimate Father, and He gives me this love, everyday. Every. Day. Often I don't see it. Still, I must choose to see. God is always the answer, because He Himself is love.


As to the other things...I can't explain why I've always loved horses, or prayed since I was a little girl to have one of my own. :-) But I realize, regardless, that there is something that speaks of the beauty of God in the wilderness, and in the wildness of a horse. A beauty, which I know is also inside myself, if I would allow Jesus to show it to me.

And so...as we all know, life is an adventure itself. But to live that adventure, to really live it, needs more. More of ourselves given. Given in love. I pray I will continue this journey. To know more...and to learn what is in the heart of God that speaks to my own heart. He is there. He is waiting with open arms. I must only approach the throne of His Heart as a little girl to her Father...and then, there is nothing left that I could want.

Friday, May 6, 2011

CATHOLICISM: U.S. Broadcast Premiere Announced

George Weigel and Archbishop Dolan Comment on the upcoming film Catholicism with Fr. Robert Barron. It looks like it's going to be a wonderful production. Can't wait to see it!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Divine Mercy Novena 2011

This Easter season, I’ve been praying the Divine Mercy Novena that started on Good Friday and leads up to Divine Mercy Sunday. I’m enjoying praying this novena and I’d like to invite everyone who reads this blog to join me in praying for God’s Divine Mercy.
There are thousands of people praying through this novena website and there will be millions praying around the world.
+ Sign up for handy email prayer reminders here: Divine Mercy Novena
+ If you have a website, post about it there!
+ Email your friends and family and get them praying too!
Let’s get all the Catholics we know to pray this novena together. If there’s anything we all need more of it’s God’s Mercy!

Monday, April 25, 2011

He is Risen! Alleluia!


I thought I'd share a beautiful quote I found by Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman from his "Hymn to Lauds Sunday." Certainly seems to ring in the Easter Season.


Rouse we; let the blithesome cry
Of that bird our hearts awaken;
Chide the slumberers as they lie,
And arrest the sin-o'ertaken.



The full text can be found here.

Friday, April 15, 2011

The Studio JB - Archangel Song

Some seminarians including a good friend of mine put this together. Take a few minutes and check it out. :-)

Description: A Catholic remix of Taio Cruz's Dynamite about the three archangels of Sacred Scripture. 

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

84,000 Novenas for the Pope’s 84th Birthday!

Will you join me in giving the Pope a huge gift for his birthday? Pope Benedict XVI is celebrating his birthday on April 16th and I’m joining up with praymorenovenas.com to get 84,000 people to pray a novena for the Pope’s 84th birthday.
On April 8th, we will begin praying for nine days leading up to and ending on the Papa Benedict’s birthday. The Pope prays for us everyday so it’s time to return the gift to him on the anniversary of his birth.
84,000 Novenas is a lot! So, I’m going to need your help. I want everyone who reads this blog to do the following to help with this birthday gift!
+ Sign up to pray here: http://eepurl.com/bQ9ff
+ Join the facebook event and invite your friends here: http://on.fb.me/eE2Xs7
+ If you have a website, post about it there!
+ Email your friends and family and get them praying too!
I’m sure the Pope will love that we are all praying for him! Please help us reach our goal of 84,000 novenas for the Pope!