Saturday, April 30, 2011

Communion And Sacrament

As April, the month dedicated to the Blessed Sacrament, comes to a close, I thought I would post about the beautiful and amazing effects of receiving Our Lord in Holy Communion. These are things we may or may not be aware of. I was reminded of them a few days ago as I was doing some spiritual reading during my holy hour. The book was by Fr. John Hardon, who has written much on the Real Presence of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. As I am not permitted to remove books from our adoration chapel, I came home to see if I could find a bit of what I read on the internet, and as Providence would have it, I did. The little bit I read in the chapel actually comes from a conference Fr. Hardon gave titled The Holy Eucharist as Communion and Sacrament. In it he lists and describes the nine effects of the sacrament of Holy Communion as outlined and taught by the Council of Trent.
To learn about these nine effects, and to read the rest of Father's conference, click the link for the title of his conference above. Once there, if you scroll down about a quarter of the way, you will come to the description of the effects.
Our Lord has given us nothing short of His entire self in this sacrament of His love; it is up to us to receive Him with as much love and devotion as we can in order to receive and be filled with all the graces He wishes to bestow on us.
As my late pastor was known to say, "Jesus doesn't get any closer to us than at this moment."

Lord Jesus, you instituted the sacrament of Holy Communion to give us the light we need to see you in everyone whom you place into our lives. You gave us this sacrament to provide us with the strength to do what is humanly impossible, to love those who not only do not love us but positively hate us, oppose us. Lord Jesus, deepen our faith in your Real Presence so that receiving you here on earth we may love as you want us to this side of heaven. So that we may join those who have learned the meaning of love from you in the Sacrament of Holy Communion. Amen. Mary, mother of the Holy Eucharist, pray for us.
(Fr. John Hardon, S.J.)

Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Psalm Of God's Mercy

Truth be known, I am horrible at persevering through novenas, but the one I do remain faithful to is the Divine Mercy Novena. This beautiful prayer was given to us through St Faustina. It begins on Good Friday and leads up to Divine Mercy Sunday. In it Jesus asks for a particular group of souls to be brought to Him on each of the nine days and that these souls be immersed in His mercy.
Today is day seven of the novena, and Jesus asks: Today bring to Me the Souls who especially venerate and glorify My Mercy,
and immerse them in My mercy. These souls sorrowed most over my Passion and entered most deeply into My spirit. They are living images of My Compassionate Heart. These souls will shine with a special brightness in the next life. Not one of them will go into the fire of hell. I shall particularly defend each one of them at the hour of death.
As I was praying the novena this morning, it brought to mind Psalm 50/51. The opening verse of this psalm is: "Have mercy on me O God in Your great mercy..." As the psalm continues, the repentant sinner acknowledges his/her sin before God, but at the same time extols and recognizes God's greatest of attributes~His Divine Mercy.
We are called to extol His mercy and given many opportunities each day to be instruments of His mercy. Jesus gives an awesome promise to those who extol and venerate His mercy. 
Our God is a generous giver of so many gifts, and his generosity can never be out done. So let's sing His praises and extol His unfathomable mercy and be recipients of His wonderful promises.
If you have never read St Faustina's Diary, I highly recommend it. Don't be put off by it's size; it is very easy to read and is a treasure trove of prayer and meditation.

Create a clean heart in me, O God: and renew a right spirit within me.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

His Unforgettable Voice

One of my favorite Gospel passages is where Jesus appears to Mary Magdalen after the Resurrection.
(John 20:1~18). This passage was the focus of my prayer and meditation a few days ago. The following reflection is what was gained through this meditation.

On Easter morning, Mary Magdalen was still grief stricken and became even more so when she discovered Your empty tomb. You saw her grief born of love for You and sought to console her. You wanted her to be filled with the joy~ You joy, of Your glorious Resurrection.
Your glory blinded her and prevented her from recognizing You, but she would never forget the sound of Your strong, yet gentle voice calling her by name. And that is all it took~ her name, Mary, spoken by her Lord, Master and Friend. She knew in that instant who You were and her heart leaped with joy; it was all the consolation she needed.
My Lord, You do the same for me. In the midst of my troubles, my grief, and my desperation, all I need to stop me in my tracks is Your voice calling my name. There are those times, though that I allow the voices of others and the world rattle my brain and my heart, those times I am prevented from from hearing Your strong, sweet voice.
Help me, my Lord to listen only to You. It is not the people themselves that seek to upset my peace and my joy, but the Enemy. May he be cast out by my faithful attention to You whenever You call to me. Let me adore You, in awe of Your glory and be consoled by Your constant presence. May I never forget the sound of my name being spoken, with love, by You, my Lord, Master and Friend.

Monday, April 25, 2011

The Fruits Of Lent In Easter

I began the Lenten season saying that I enjoy and even look forward to Lent, but I think I can truly say that I have never experienced a Lent like the one I did this year. My primary sacrifice and offering to Our Lord this year was, as my readers know, to refrain from blogging. I thought I would find this more difficult than I actually did because I enjoy writing so much. I will admit I was tempted a few times to break the blogfast, but am glad I didn't. However, I did continue to write but it was in the form of my journal.
I used the Spiritual Exercises blog as my main focus for prayer, meditation and journaling. The exercises and reflections, written by a group of Jesuits and based on the Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius of Loyola and on Scripture proved to be quite fruitful and kept me focused and writing. I had been neglecting my journal lately. For me, my journal is not simply a way to record thoughts and feelings, but a real way of communicating with Jesus. My entries are in letter form to Him.
My spiritual reading came from the book, What Jesus Saw From the Cross. I highly recommend this book by Fr. A.G. Sertillanges. He is a priest who lived in the Holy Land and so was able to describe in great detail the places Our Lord had been in His earthly life, but the book is written from Jesus' perspective of these places from the Cross.
I entered Holy Week with the prayer that I wanted to walk along with Jesus through the events of that week. He answered that prayer on so many levels. I went to confession on Wednesday of that week with a priest that I can only describe as amazing. You felt like you were really sitting with Jesus! I thought he was a visiting priest but it turns out he is a priest that works with the Neo-Catechumens movement in our parish.
I was flooded with the emotion of Good Friday but also a keen awareness of Christ's mercy in my life and the awesome gift my faith is. On Holy Saturday I attended the Easter Vigil as I usually do, but had this overwhelming sense of being alone despite the filled church, It took me awhile to realize why this was~it was Jesus' absence; the tabernacle was still empty and until the Consecration, that feeling of aloneness did not leave me. This difficult little grace just reinforced what I already knew, that Jesus' Presence is everything!
And so here we are in Eastertide when we will celebrate the great feast of Easter for the next 50 days.
I did enjoy my Lenten time in the desert, but am also glad to be back with all of you celebrating the joys of Our Lord's Resurrection.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

He's Alive~ Alleluia!

The Resurrection by Ron DiCianni

We have spent these last 40 days in the desert with Our Lord, shared an intimate last meal where He gave us the gifts of the priesthood and the sacrament of the Eucharist, we walked the road leading to Calvary and watched Him suffer and die for love of each of us, and today we arrive with joyful anticipation at the empty tomb. Yes, Our Lord is indeed risen and alive.
The Resurrection~ it is the pivotal event in the history of our faith. It is why Christ came. It reminds us of His promise that this is what awaits each of us at the end of time if we have lived according to His laws and teachings. There really are no words that do justice to the great feast of Easter. I will just leave it at Our Lord Jesus Christ came, lived, suffered, died and rose so that we might live forgiven now and in eternity with Him.
The painting above is a mural painted by artist Ron DiCianni. It is one of the most powerful paintings of the Resurrection I have ever seen. You can read more about the mural and the artist by clicking the link with his name above.
I will leave you with the song He's Alive performed by Dolly Parton. I have to admit I am not a huge fan of country music but Dolly does a great job with this one. The song is sung from the perspective of Peter. My only bone of contention with the song is the fact that it says Peter saw Him crucified and watched Him die~Scripture tells us only John was there from the band of Apostles, but who knows, perhaps Peter was cowering in the shadows~it wouldn't surprise me if he was. Other than that, the song is powerful and truly captures the spirit and meaning of Easter.
A Happy and Blessed Easter to all my readers and visitors.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Why I Love Jesus

Well, it seems I am going to interrupt my blogfast for this post. Stating my reasons for loving Jesus seems to be a worthy enough reason. I have been tagged for this meme by Victor at Time for Reflections and David at Wheat for Paradise.

Here are the rules for the meme:
*state 5 reasons why you love Jesus
*tag 5 other bloggers
*provide links to the blogs of those you tag as well as the one(s) who tagged you.

Here are 5 of the many reasons I love Jesus:

I love Jesus because He first loved me. He was patient with me especially when I strayed far from Him and chose a sinful life over Him; He waited with more patience than I deserved to be shown for my return to Him. I love Our Lord because not only did He die for me, but He continues to offer Himself to me in His Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity in Holy Communion. I love Jesus because He never ceases to amaze me with the ways in which He reveals Himself to me.
I love Jesus because He deserves and desires to be loved by me.
I will also add that I fall way short of loving Him the way He deserves and desires to be loved by me; it is only through our Blessed Mother that I can learn to love Him more and better.

Here are those I wish to tag:
Anne at Imprisoned in My Bones
Colleen at Thoughts on Grace
Matt at Sailing Against the Wind
Judy at BenMakesTen

I know I am one short, but so many have been tagged already.

Back to my regular scheduled blogfast :) See you all on Easter!

Friday, April 1, 2011

April Devotion: The Blessed Sacrament

While I am refraining from posting during Lent, I also did not want to forgo the monthly devotion especially since this month of April is dedicated to Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament. So I am offering this repost from last May on Our Lady and the Blessed Sacrament which I have pre-scheduled to post in April. The sidebar also has the usual picture and attached prayers for this month's devotion.
I pray you all continue to have a blessed Lent as we look forward to the Resurrection on Easter morning.
God Bless!

Our Lady And The Blessed Sacrament

Throughout this month I have been posting various writings and quotes related to Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. I would be remiss in these posts if I did not devote a post to Our Blessed Mother. She is after all the Mother of our Lord, and it is her yes that gave Our Lord His flesh and blood.
It is also Mary's role and purpose to draw us closer to her Son. She is always pointing us in His direction. She loves nothing better than to intercede on our behalf in our prayers asking her to draw us closer to Jesus.
It is for this reason I believe that devotion to Our Blessed Mother goes hand in hand, or maybe heart to heart, with devotion to Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament.
St Peter Julian Eymard is often called the Apostle of the Eucharist has written extensively on the Real Presence of Our Lord in the Eucharist. He also had great devotion to Our Lady. In fact Our Lady called him to found the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament, a group of men who would dedicate themselves to adoration of Our Lord in the Eucharist. This saint was convinced that it was Mary who led him to the priesthood, from being a diocesan priest to the religious congregation of the Marists, and that it was Our Lady who forced him to leave the happiness he had known in the Marists to begin organizing the orders dedicated to Our Lord in the Eucharist. It is because of all this he gave her the title of Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament.
In looking at my own life, I too can see how Mary was instrumental in leading me back to her Son. She is our Mother as well and wants the best for us. This is why she always points to Jesus. Fr. John Corapi has said the shortest path to Jesus is through His Mother. I believe he is right. She will show us how to love and follow Him.
You can read more on Our Lady and the Blessed Sacrament here.

Closing Prayer

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.