Sunday, October 31, 2010
It was crowded in Jericho this particular day. News was buzzing around that Jesus would be passing through. Maybe he would preach again; I had heard him in other nearby towns. His words were always captivating and His gaze would hold you where you felt like He could see the deepest parts of you. I stayed around to see if I could hear Him again.
As Jesus approached the center of town, the crowds grew thicker. I noticed, a short distance from me, a man climbing a tree. As I got a better look at this man, I realized I had seen him before; he was Zacchaeus, one of the chief tax collectors. I found it a bit strange that this man, given his occupation, would want to hear Jesus. Well, not just hear Him, but he obviously wanted to see Jesus as well.
I began to wonder even more about why Zacchaeus had climbed that tree. After all, if he could see Jesus from that vantage point then it would be likely that Jesus would notice him. Did he really want that to happen?
I decided I would approach him and ask him myself about his reasons, but as I began to walk toward the tree, Jesus also began to walk toward it; this stopped me dead in my tracks.
What happened next was truly amazing; Jesus called to Zacchaeus by name and told him to come down out of the tree because He wished to dine with him in his home. Most of the people in that crowd knew who and what Zacchaeus was and they hated him for it. Tax collectors were not the most popular people around.
Now I had heard about people having instant changes of heart where they gave up their sorted ways, but I had never seen it happen before my very eyes before. This day I would. Zacchaeus stood before Jesus and told Him he would give half of what he had to the poor and return anything he had extorted from anyone. I had hear these stories of instant repentance before with others who had personal encounters with Jesus.
Jesus and Zacchaeus headed off for Zacchaeus' home. The crowd, still mumbling and grumbling, began to disperse. I began my own walk home and thought much on the way. I thought about my own life, my own sins, and how I wished to have a personal encounter with Jesus. I thought about how brave Zacchaeus was to not only join the crowd, but put himself in a place where he was actually showing himself to Jesus. Then I thought about what Jesus said to Zacchaeus before they walked off; Jesus told him that salvation had come to his house this day. In essence, Zacchaeus was forgiven.
Maybe that is the key to mine and anyone else's personal encounter with Jesus~ we need to have the faith and the courage to show ourselves to Him as we are with a repentant heart. Jesus always seems drawn to those who are sinful but repentant.
It is at this point that I recall earlier words from Scripture. The book of Wisdom tells us that the Lord is the lover of souls and He rebukes sinners little by little, warning and reminding them of their sins. My only response to this can be to praise Him, my king and my God.
My Dear Lord Jesus, lover of my soul, may I never be afraid to show myself to you as I am. May I always be open to the conviction by Your Holy Spirit so as to seek Your mercy and forgiveness for all my sins.
May I praise and bless your name forever.
*Reflection based on Mass readings for the 31st Sunday in Ordinary Time.
Friday, October 29, 2010
When I first began this hour with Jesus, I had a bit of a routine when I entered the chapel. I would spend a few minutes telling Jesus of my intentions for this hour, those whom I wish to bring to Him in prayer, as well as my own personal intentions. Then I would spend the next half hour saying a rosary. I know~ most people can say the rosary in 15 to 20 minutes, I need a good half hour~ I have no idea why! Anyway~ after my rosary I would spend the last remaining minutes thanking Jesus for calling me to this time with Him and for His patience in listening to me.
Now there is nothing wrong with this routine, and at times I still stick to it, but over the course of these seven years, I have come to feel more of a desire to just go and be with Jesus. What I say or don't say really is not as important to Him as the fact that I just show up and spend the time with Him. There could be 10 other people in that chapel, but I always feel that it is just Him and me. This also gives Jesus the chance to speak to me. My above routine sometimes does not let Him get a word in edgewise!
These are simply my own personal musings on my own experiences. Others more advanced spiritual souls have written much on this topic. One such soul is Mother Angelica. I recently came across one of her booklets titled To leave and Yet To Stay. Below is a small excerpt from that booklet. In this brief section she speaks about Our Lord in the Tabernacle being an oasis in the desert. She poses the question:"Why do we permit our souls to die of thirst when the Fountain of Living Water is just around the corner?" So true!
Here is a brief excerpt; you can read more of the booklet by clicking the above link.
Thursday, October 28, 2010
We don't know much of what these two saints did after the Resurrection, but we do know they lived and eventually died for Christ as martyrs. The Apostles, with Saint Peter as their leader, laid a firm foundation so Christs Church could be built and remain solid. So while our one holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church may take its share of beatings, Jesus promised us that the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.
In reflecting on these two great saints, along with the other apostles, I began to think about all the riches and treasures we have been given in the Catholic faith. Yes, we have Scripture, the Word of God itself, but we also have Sacred Tradition, along with and through which Scripture should be read and meditated upon. And above all else, we have Jesus Himself in the Holy Eucharist. He gives Himself to us, sparing nothing for Himself so that we may come to know and love Him now and in the life to come.
May the holy company of Apostles praise God and may we praise Him along with them.
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Father Gordon is the first one to say that those who are guilty (and there are those who are) of this heinous crime should be punished; I agree wholeheartedly. However, there are a number of priests who have been falsely accused. The reasons for this vary, but money is often at the root of it. As heinous as sexual abuse is, it is also horrible when those who have not been abused say they are for monetary gain.
If you have never visited These Stone Walls, I urge you to do so. The link for this series will lead you to Part 3 of Father's series; you will find the links for Parts 1 and 2 on that post.
Let us pray for healing~ for those who truly have been abused sexually, for the innocent who have been falsely accused, for those who abuse our justice system, and for our Church.
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Monday, October 25, 2010
The psalm for the morning was actually a passage from 1Samuel (1Kings 2:1~10 for you Douay~Rheims readers). It was Anna's canticle. Anna was one of two wives of Elcana. Anna was also barren, but prayed constantly that God would find favor with her and grant her a son, whom she would, in return, dedicate back to God. God does grant Anna's prayer and after the birth of her son, Samuel, she prays the following:
Sunday, October 24, 2010
Friday, October 22, 2010
I am always interested in what they have to say on the subject of prayer. Teresa of Avila has written copious amounts on this topic. Her confessor and friend, Peter of Alcantara also wrote a treatise on prayer and meditation.
St Peter of Alcantara is not among the more widely known saints, but his life and the things he has written are worth reading. The actual date of his feast seems to be a bit fuzzy. In the 1962 Roman Missal, his feast is celebrated on October 19. I have found many blogs and sites remembering him today. The actual date of his feast is not all that important, what we can learn from him is.
I found an excerpt from his Treatise on Prayer and Meditation on Scott Hahn's site, The St Paul Center for Biblical Theology. Just an aside, this site has a wealth of information on many spiritual topics as well as the various spiritualities (Franciscan, Carmelite, Dominican, etc) But back to St Peter and his treatise.
There is a Monday Morning Meditation included. I warn you, it is not for the spiritually faint of heart! It is tough, but exactly what we need in this day and age. What the saints knew even before they were saints was their knowledge of the fact that they were sinners. We are all sinners. There is no way around that. But knowing this and acknowledging it can lead to deep humility. This meditation which is what most of us would call an examination of conscience, is extremely humbling if we do it honestly. Yes we are sinners, but God in His love and mercy does not wish to leave us there.
Prayer is our conversation and connection to and with God. He gave us the gift of His Son, Jesus Christ to save us from our sins and to show us the way back home to Him. God has also raised up powerful, yet humble saints throughout history to help us. They do this from heaven with their prayers and intercession, and in the writings and teachings they have left us.
Thursday, October 21, 2010
The purpose of this post is not for me to go on a rant, but rather to direct you to an excellent article on this topic over at Catholic Exchange.
The article also sites the statistics for the link between breast cancer and oral contraceptive use. If you have ever read Pope Paul VI encyclical, Humanae Vitae, you know that this pope prophetically wrote about how the use of artificial contraception would increase the number of abortions (see the encyclical for his exact wording; I am paraphrasing.), not decrease them as the likes of Planned Parenthood and our culture in general would have us believe.
We need to not only educate ourselves, but also our young women and men. It all begins with chastity. As I tell any group of students I speak to: "If I had been living a chaste life, I never would have found myself in the position that led me to the decision to abort my child."
Many companies support Susan G. Komen; it is not always easy to know who they are, and it may not always be possible to stop buying a specific product, but let's do what we can where we can so as not to add one extra dime to this already multi-million dollar organization.
Part of what happened to me when I returned to living my faith was that I became somewhat of an activist. I have written to Christian radio stations who support SGK, I have stopped buying certain brands of yogurt, and most recently I walked off my local supermarket's deli line when I saw their sign supporting SGK. A few short years ago I probably wouldn't have done any of this.
I am not saying that abortion and oral contraceptives are the sole causes of breast cancer, but there are definite links. The Church teaches that both of these practices are intrinsically evil and with good reason~they destroy life.
May our actions preach the Gospel of Life in the midst of this present Culture of Death.
(I will have more to say in a future post on artificial contraception and its destructiveness on so many levels.)
As a Catholic lay woman I may never know the Mass, and more precisely, the moment of Consecration as a priest does or should. However I do stand in humble awe of it and am eternally grateful for Christ's gift of His priesthood without which we would not have the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
This reflection by Fr. Kosicki recounts a mystical experience he had during an hour of adoration with Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. It is powerful and deeply moving.
I offer this reflection on this Thursday, the day which Jesus instituted the Priesthood, in honor of priesthood and for all our priests who act in Persona Christi.
On Thursday, when I went to my cell, I saw over me the Sacred Host in great brightness. Then I heard a voice that seemed to be coming from above the Host: "In the Host is your power; it will defend you." After these words, the vision disappeared, but a strange power entered my soul, and a strange light as to what our love for God consists in; namely, in doing His will.
During this hour of prayer, Jesus allowed me to enter the Cenacle, and I was a witness to what happened there. However, I was most deeply moved when, before the Consecration, Jesus raised His eyes to heaven and entered into a mysterious conversation with His Father. It is only in eternity that we shall really understand that moment. His eyes were like two flames; His face was radiant, white as snow; His whole personage full of majesty, His soul full of longing. At the moment of Consecration, love rested satiated–the sacrifice fully consummated. Now only the external ceremony of death will be carried out–external destruction; the essence [of it] is in the Cenacle. Never in my whole life had I understood this mystery so profoundly as during that hour of adoration. Oh, how ardently I desire that the whole world would come to know this unfathomable mystery!
Fr. George W. Kosicki
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
These were the words I heard today after receiving Jesus in Holy Communion. These words made me think and reflect on a few things. First I thought of St Teresa of Avila, who wrote these words in a prayerful poem known as St Teresa's Bookmark. Then I thought of the martyrs we celebrate today, St Isaac Jogues, St Jean de Brebeuf and companions.These brave souls who went as Jesuit missionaries to evangelize the Native Americans knew the meaning of these words and lived them even to their deaths. In bringing the Gospel to these native people, they knew they were doing what God was asking of them, difficult though it was. On the outside everything seemed to be in chaos, but they never lost their inner peace. That peace is a gift of God's grace.
In thinking about these brave souls, I began to think about how I react to the various circumstances of my life. How often I allow my inner peace that God has given me to be shaken and taken from me. I allow so much to disturb me at times.
I often think of Jesus at times like this as well. I find myself wondering how He did it. How did He deal with the likes of the scribes and pharisees and not lose His peace? I think the answer lies in the fact that He knew who He was; not simply that He was God, but that He belonged to His Father and always did the Father's will..
I think therein lies the secret for us; the secret that the saints and martyrs knew~ we belong to God! If we live our lives in Christ in line with the Father's will for us, we will never lose that inner peace He has given each of us.
This doesn't mean that we won't ever get angry; even Jesus got angry, but for the right reasons. It means, as St Teresa's poem says: God alone suffices. At the end of the day we will know who we are and to Whom we belong.
OK~ so now I am going to begin my day and see if I can actually put this blog post into practice. May nothing disturb me; may nothing disturb you~God alone suffices!
Here is St Teresa's Bookmark
Let nothing frighten you,
All things are passing away:
God never changes.
Patience obtains all things.
Whoever has God lacks nothing;
God alone suffices.
Monday, October 18, 2010
The song's lyrics are powerful and so is some of the imagery.
And remember, only One did it all for us.
It is in St Luke's Gospel that we hear the infant narratives recounting the birth and early childhood of Christ. It is the one gospel where we probably hear the most about our Blessed Mother. This is with good reason; Luke most likely heard these stories from Mary herself. So while he may have never met Jesus in person, he heard much about Him from the best source there could be~ Jesus' own Mother.
As we celebrate this great saint's feast day today, let us ask his intercession for the parts of our lives that are still in need of healing, be it physical, emotional or spiritual.
You can read a little more about St Luke here and more about his artwork of Our Lady here. (Scroll down at this link about a quarter of the way for the story of the Portrait of Mary)
Sunday, October 17, 2010
Each chapter gives a thorough explanation of these stages of life supported by Scripture and writings from various saints. At the end of each chapter are discussion questions, a reflection and prayer. The discussion questions make it conducive to group study.
I have to admit, I had a tough time with this book primarily because I simply did not find much of what the author had to say resonating within my own life. This does not make it a bad book. It may be that I am just not ready for it at this time in my life. I did find the reflections and prayers spiritually edifying.
If you are looking for a way to understand you faith and spirituality more deeply as a group study or as an individual self study, this book will serve the purpose.
The book can be purchased through The Catholic Company.
Also be sure to check out their great selection of baptism gifts.
Note: The author of this review received only a copy of the book in exchange for the review.
Our faith is a gift from God. The end of today's Gospel poses the question: "When the Son of Man returns to earth, how much faith will He find?" So how have we~ how have I made use of this gift of faith? Maybe that is the more pertinent question for us at this moment.
God knows what we need, but wants us to come to Him ourselves. Our faithful persistence and perseverance seems to be a way to show God how badly we really want what we are asking. I think we need to remember that we are on God's time even though sometimes, most times we would like Him to be on ours. My faith assures me that He always hears me and answers me. The answer may not always be what we want or expect, but Father truly does know best. Sometimes He says no and sometimes He says "I have something better in mind." We as His children need to persevere in our prayer, for prayer is our constant conversation with our Creator. The best prayer we can persevere in is, "Father, Thy will be done." If that prayer was good enough for Jesus at the most difficult and painful time in His earthly life, it is certainly good enough for us.
For those times that we grow weary like Moses in today's first reading, well God provides earthly and heavenly helpers to keep our arms raised in prayer, and for those times when we can not raise our arms or our voices, those helpers will raise us to God in their own prayers.
*Reflection based on readings for the 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time.
Saturday, October 16, 2010
Our Lord revealed His Sacred Heart to St Margaret Mary Alacoque. He asked her to spread devotion to His Most Sacred Heart and gave her the promises He would keep to those who practiced this devotion.
We celebrate this saint's feast day today and ask her intercession and prayers that we too may draw close to Our Lord's most Sacred Heart.
Friday, October 15, 2010
You have heard it before, we are in a battle. The battle is not necessarily with the atheists and agnostics themselves, but it is a spiritual battle being waged by Satan. If anyone knows the power of the Catholic faith, he does, and he takes great pleasure in seeing uneducated and unarmed Catholics. Let us not give him this satisfaction, but rather always strive to know Scripture and the Sacred Traditions of our rich and beautiful Catholic faith. Our Lord gave His life so that we may have this awesome gift; we need to give ours over to defending it.
I'll let Fr. Barron say the rest...
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
In today's Gospel (Luke11:42~46), Jesus tells the Pharisees that they did not lift a finger to touch the people, but rather imposed burdens on them.
Jesus not only lifted a finger to touch us~ He lifted a cross. He didn't burden us, but took our burdens upon Himself.
Monday, October 11, 2010
I have been in a state of blahness spiritually. Some might call it aridity, and there is some of that going on, but is also a bit of depression. Now I am not someone who suffers from clinical depression, but on occasion, what I call situational depression seems to visit. The reasons for this are varied; many times it is centered around an unpleasant anniversary date in my life.
I am always amazed how God sends me His reassuring messages just when I need them. Reading my friend Judy's post, Fake It Til You Make It seemed to be just what I needed to hear, but it went even further when I went to the link for a reflection on aridity written by her brother. What I realized after reading this beautiful reflection was that I was not suffering purely from spiritual aridity, but this minor bout of depression may be causing the aridity.
The title of the reflection is Aridity: A True Blessing in Disguise. While it may not feel like it, when you really stop and think about it, it is a blessing. As the reflection points out, God either permits or directly wills this for the good of the soul. It reminds me of what Mother Angelica says about enjoying our faith versus exercising our faith. There are times in all our lives where God allows us to sit back and enjoy our faith~ prayer comes easily, we feel consolations, we can see and feel God's presence everywhere and in everything. Then there are the times He wants to make us and our faith stronger~ prayer is the last thing we feel like doing and when we do do it, it feels like sawdust in our mouths! God seems to have turned a deaf ear to us and we can't feel or see His presence in anything. This is the time to stay the course. It is also the time for gratitude as the above mentioned reflection speaks about. It is also about getting our heads out of our bellybuttons and thinking, doing, praying for others.
I have been in this desert place before, so it doesn't frighten me. If anything it helps me to see my total dependence on God, because I know He is the only one who can and will see me through it. In the meantime, He sends me wonderful friends and family to support me.
I have always been someone who does not particularly enjoy exercise, but I do it because I know its benefits. Spiritual exercise is no different and its benefits will last for eternity!
So I will stay the course. I will continue to stick to my formula for my spiritual life; for me that is daily Mass, morning and evening prayer, and my weekly hour (or more if I can get there) of Eucharistic Adoration. I will proceed calmly and in faith until such time as God sees fit to bring me out of this dry and dusty land. He will; He always does!
Note: If you haven't read Judy's post or her brother's reflection, please follow the respective links above. When you get to the page for the reflection, scroll down and you will find it about third from the bottom.
Sunday, October 10, 2010
A piece of commentary on todays Gospel (Luke 17:11~19) seemed to stand out for me. It said: that the consummation of the Samaritan leper's healing happens when he returns and falls at Jesus' feet in thanksgiving. I thought about this for awhile today. This leper's healing began when he thanked Jesus. Jesus confirms this by telling the leper that his faith has saved him.
We hear Our Lord say this to many He healed in the Gospels. It is almost as if He is telling us that He can cure whatever may ail us, but our faith in God is needed in order for true, deep and lasting healing to occur. Gratitude is a sure sign of that faith; it shows that we are aware of the Source of the healing and our knowledge that we are dependent on God for everything. Our faith and gratitude show God that we realize that all comes from Him and that we know that all is owed to Him.
Naaman in today's first reading (2Kings 5:14~17) knew this as well. His declaration of faith in the God of Israel was his thanksgiving. He even asked to take some of earth back with him so that he could always make a thanksgiving to God. We may not suffer from physical leprosy, but sin is a kind of spiritual leprosy. It separates us from God and each other. If we come to God in humble repentance, thanking Him for the gift of His healing, He will use our faith to lead us to deeper healing. He has given us the sacraments; they are channels of His grace. In the sacrament of the Eucharist we come in faith in the ultimate act of thanksgiving for God's ultimate gift of Himself through the sacrifice of His Son. Perhaps the fact that faith and gratitude seem to go hand in hand is most clear in the celebration of Mass. When we receive Jesus in Holy Communion, we say Amen meaning I believe or it is so. In turn Jesus gives us His healing at seeing this faith and it saves us.
Jesus never stops giving Himself to us; may we always come to Him in a spirit of gratitude for all His gifts.
Thursday, October 7, 2010
St Pius V established today's feast of the Holy Rosary to mark the anniversary of the victory in the battle of Lepanto on October 7, 1571. The victory of the Christian naval fleet is attributed to the intercession of the Holy Mother of God.
The gift of this prayer from God through the Blessed Virgin is powerful. Through it we meditate on the life of Christ through the eyes of His Mother. Those who pray it regularly know all too well the power of this prayer and how Our Lady is pleased to hear our prayers and take them to her Son.
Venerable John Paul II dedicated the year 2002~2003 as the year of the Rosary and added the five Luminous Mysteries. Here is a brief excerpt from Pope John Paul II's Apostolic Letter, Rosarium Virginis Mariae:
May we always pray this prayer being mindful of the mysteries and asking Our Lady's Spouse, the Holy Spirit to guide us and draw us more deeply into contemplating and meditating upon these mysteries.
I beg you to present my petition to your Divine Son. If you will pray for me, I cannot be refused. I know, dearest Mother, that you want me to seek God’s holy Will concerning my request. If what I ask for should not be granted, pray that I may receive that which will be of greater benefit to my soul.
I offer you this spiritual “Bouquet of Roses” because I love you. I put all my confidence in you, since your prayers before God are most powerful. For the greater glory of God and for the sake of Jesus, your loving Son, hear and grant my prayer. Sweet Heart of Mary, be my salvation.
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
Today the Church celebrates the feast of St Bruno, founder of the Carthusians. My fellow blogger, Jeffrey at Secret Harbour has a beautiful post on this saint. Since nothing I could post here could come even close to doing this great saint justice, I refer you to Jeffrey's post and wonderful blog dedicated to this saint and the order Bruno founded. Anything you want to know about St Bruno and the Carthusians can be found at Secret Harbour. Thank you Jeffrey for the beautiful writings you post there.
I will end by simply wishing St Bruno a happy feast day~ now go read Jeffrey's post; you will be glad you did!
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
This morning as I listened to the Gospel from Luke recounting that very well known scene of Martha and Mary during one of Jesus' visits to their home, I was thinking about choosing the better part. This is what Jesus tells Martha about her sister when Martha is troubled and anxious about having to do all the serving.
I heard Fr. Robert Barron give an interpretation of this story that I had not heard before. While many Scripture scholars use this Gospel account to demonstrate the active (Martha) and contemplative (Mary) lives, Fr. Barron explained that Jesus did not rebuke Martha because she was busy, but because she was anxious and somewhat unfocused. She lost sight of why and Who she was serving. Father went further to say that even if Martha had been sitting at Jesus' feet, she still may have been anxious and troubled.
As today is also the feast of St Faustina Kowalska, I was able to see how this nun was able to live out choosing the better part in all Christ called her to do. She was busy spreading the message of Divine Mercy, but always remained focused on the One who called her to do the work.
If you have never read this beautiful saint's diary, I strongly recommend it. It is long, but very easy to read. It is one of those books I have highlighted and dog earred sections of, and go back to often.
So let us follow the example of St Faustina and all the saints who at some point in their lives learned how to choose the better part. Martha became a saint, so I am sure she eventually learned this lesson as well.
Sunday, October 3, 2010
The first one was given by a transitional deacon (he will be ordained in May). His homily used the analogy that is sometimes heard comparing God to a watch or clock maker. The clockmaker makes his timepiece and then sells it, never again to have anything to do with it. The deacon went on to say that some people see God in this way; they become like Habakkuk in the first reading, angry with God, wondering why He seems so detached from human affairs. But in that reading God goes on to tell Habakkuk that all will be done in His time. God tells us the same thing; all will be put right, but in God's time~not ours. It is the faith that the Apostles asked Jesus for in the Gospel that will enable us to see that God is very much interested in human affairs and His hand is at work even if we can not perceive it. In the meantime we need to take Paul's advice in the second reading and bear our share of the hardships for the sake of the Gospel. If we can do all of this, all the while asking Our Lord to increase our faith, we will see God not as a disinterested clock maker, but as a loving, caring, merciful Father.
Part of what always blows me over when I give my witness in a parish is the compassionate and positive response I get from those who have just heard me. Part of my healing was the grace to be able to not only ask God for His forgiveness, but also the grace to forgive myself. I can not accept God's love if I am still playing the shame and blame game. This grace also allows me to accept love, mercy and compassion from others.
I know God is not the clockmaker and I am slowly but surely changing my default settings.
How about you?
Saturday, October 2, 2010
When I think about this, I sometimes smile at the thought of God our Father assigning us our guardian angel. Knowing us before we even take our first breath~ our temperament, strengths, weaknesses; I somehow see Him saying to an angel: "You are the one for him or her."
I also sometimes hope that we will actually get to meet our guardian angel in heaven, but I know that I can also begin that relationship while I am here on earth. I know this, but I often fail to follow through with it. However, in recent years I have begun to get a little better with praying to and conversing with my angel. One day about two years ago, one of the gentlemen who attends our 7am daily Mass came up to me after Mass and said to me: "Your guardian angel's name is Joy." He said it came to him after Communion. Now I have to admit, I am sometimes a little more than a little skeptical about things like this, but in this instance there was something about the certainty and conviction in his voice that I felt inclined to believe him. Also as Divine Providence would have it, a few days before this "revelation", I had been thinking about my guardian angel and how I would like to get to know this spiritual friend and protector better.
From that day on I have referred to my guardian angel by this name. While I still often forget to pray to and thank my angel, I do find myself at least thinking of him at certain times. I ask my angel's help, along with Our Lady's at certain times during Mass, most especially during the Offertory when I ask Joy to bring to the altar all that I am and have and then again when receiving Our Lord in Holy Communion. I try to remember that my angel always stands before the face of God, constantly interceding for me.
I also know that there have been more than a few times in my life that Joy's protection has saved me from danger.
I thank our loving God for the gift of my guardian angel. I thank Joy, my guide, protector, friend and the unsung hero of my life for all the angelic protection and guidance he has provided and will continue to provide until my earthly life comes to an end.
Friday, October 1, 2010
October is the month dedicated to the Holy Rosary. The Church celebrates the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary on October 7. The word rosary means crown of roses. This beautiful and powerful prayer was given to St Dominic by the Blessed Virgin. She also made 15 promises to Dominic and all who would pray this prayer.
While I am not very good at saying the rosary daily, I do try to pray it often. It has played a profound role in my reversion and in the healing from my abortion. I like to think of my time spent praying this prayer as praying not only to our Blessed Mother, but also praying with her.
I quote Fr. John Corapi often, and do so again. He is known for saying that "In praying the Rosary we pray the Gospel; Jesus is at the center of the Rosary." Meditating on the mysteries will draw us deeper into the life of Christ. She will guide us in our prayer and always lead us to her Son.
In our difficult and troubled times, we need this prayer perhaps more than ever. The devil hates this prayer because he knows the power of it. Padre Pio would often say to his bothers: "Bring me my weapon!" The rosary is a powerful weapon against evil; Our Lady has armed us well through her gift of this prayer.
During this month dedicated to the Holy Rosary, let us answer our Blessed Mother's call to battle. Let us take up our beaded weapon and pray for peace, for life, and for a return to God for our country.
This is the heart of St Therese of Liseux's Little Way. One reason this great saint and Doctor of the Church is so popular is because her Little Way gives hope to those of us who may sometimes feel that we have to do grandiose deeds in order to please God and gain eternal salvation. St Therese explains that it is not the deed that needs to be great, but the love with which we do it. To Therese, everything was grace, even the daily humdrum chores of daily life.
Scripture backs this up, or perhaps our saint based her Little Way on scripture. St Paul's discourse on love in 1Corinthians 13:1~13 tells us nothing, even the greatest of gifts and deeds is anything unless we have love. St Paul again in 2Corinthians 9:7 tells us that God loves a cheerful giver. I know in my own life I do not always carry out my daily tasks with love and cheer~much grace is lost by this. St Therese is a wonderful model and reminder of how doing things with love can transform menial tasks into tasks that have great spiritual benefit not only for ourselves but others as well.
She promised to continue her Little Way from heaven sending forth a shower of roses and spending her heaven doing good on earth. Many miracles have been attributed to her intercession. You may often hear people who have prayed to her for intercession say that the favor was granted and they received a rose in some way, shape or form as a sign that the favor was granted.
St Therese also had devotion to our Blessed Mother. The death of her own mother was one of the most difficult events of her young life. She took Our Lady as her Mother from that time on. The video below is from EWTN's Saints Speak archives. In it St Therese speaks about her vision of Our Lady during an episode of illness.
I have also included links to a site with prayers to the saint as well as a reflection on St Therese from Fr. Steve Grunow who is the Assistant Director of Fr. Robert Barron's Word on Fire Ministries.
Psalm 45: Canticle of Love to the King
My heart overflows with a good theme;
I address my verses to the King;
My tongue is the pen of a ready writer.
You are fairer than the sons of men;
Grace is poured upon Your lips;
Therefore God has blessed You forever.
Gird Your sword on Your thigh, O Mighty One,
In Your splendor and Your majesty!
And in Your majesty ride on victoriously,
For the cause of truth and meekness and righteousness;
Let Your right hand teach You awesome things.
Your arrows are sharp;
The peoples fall under You;
Your arrows are in the heart of the King’s enemies.
Your throne, O God, is forever and ever;
A scepter of uprightness is the scepter of Your kingdom.
You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness;
Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You
With the oil of joy above Your fellows.
All Your garments are fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia;
Out of ivory palaces stringed instruments have made You glad.
Kings’ daughters are among Your noble ladies;
At Your right hand stands the queen in gold from Ophir.