Sunday, July 31, 2011
You know, My Lord, for what it is that I thirst.
An invitation to come toYour life~giving water is extended.
In my fear, doubt and self reliance, I have sought to quench my thirst elsewhere, never satisfied.
In Your great love for me You question why I look to anyone or anything other than You.
Again You extend Your invitation, but now with more urgency to listen to You, to trust You.
Heed Me; listen to Me and you shall feast on life giving fare that will satisfy you to the depths of Your soul.
Allow yourself to be fed by My Hand. Allow Me to feed you with my very Self.
Come to Me and worry not that you have nothing with which to pay; for I, Your Lord, have paid the debt.
Come and have your hunger and thirst satisfied by My Hand.
~Reflection based on Isaiah 55:1~3
Saturday, July 30, 2011
Every time I assist at Mass, one of the prayers I pray before Mass begins is to our Blessed Mother. I'm not sure when I began doing this; it seemed to just be something I consciously do to prepare to receive Jesus in Holy Communion. I figure no one received Our Lord more perfectly than His own Mother, so surely she can help me to do the same, well at least as perfectly as this poor, sinful soul can.
My prayer to her before each Mass is:
Dear Blessed Mother,
Please help me to receive Jesus as you did, with complete love, humility and purity of heart.
Well, she seemed to give me some assurance today that my prayer is answered as I read the following words spoken by Our Lady to Mary of Agreda.
"Above all I exhort thee to call upon me and ask me to help thee; for thou must know, that I am the special Advocate and Protectress of those who desire to arrive at great purity for receiving holy Communion. Whenever they invoke me for this purpose, I present myself before the throne of the Most High, and, as one well knowing the disposition required for harboring God Himself, I ask His favor and grace for those who are about to receive Him in the holy Sacrament. I have not lost in heaven the solicitude and zeal, which I exhibited upon earth. Having asked me, proceed to ask also the intercession of the angels, for they also are very anxious to see souls approach the holy Eucharist with great devotion and purity."
So go ahead and ask Our Lady; she is more than willing to help us receive her Son as He desires and deserves to be received.
Friday, July 29, 2011
When Jesus was in the area of Bethany, He spent considerable time with His friend Lazarus and his sisters, Martha and Mary. What must it have been like to be in a home where Our Lord was such a welcomed Guest. The scene probably typical of one of Jesus' visits is recounted in Luke's Gospel (10:38~42). Mary is at the feet of Jesus and Martha is busy about the details of tidying up and preparing a meal for their dear friend.
In this scene from Luke, we hear Jesus rebuke Martha for being troubled about many things. I don't think He was upset that Martha was doing these things but that she seemed to lose her peace~ the peace that only comes from remaining at His feet, whether literally as Mary had or spiritually while going about her chores. Martha only saw the work and lost the "better part". I once heard Fr. Robert Barron comment that even if Martha had been at Jesus' feet, she still would have been troubled. Martha's heart and soul were distracted and she lost sight of Jesus, the better part.
In reflecting on all of this, I see myself in Martha more times than I care to count. I have many Martha Moments, those moments when I lose sight of Jesus and get caught up in the drudgery of the work. I lose my peace~ His peace. It is in these moments that I hear myself complaining, either aloud or interiorly, about all I have to do, or why am I the one who always gets stuck with this or that~ you get the picture. I have also found myself being rebuked by Jesus when I catch myself in the midst of one of these pity parties.
Jesus rebuked Martha because He loved her; He wanted her never to lose sight of Him whether He was there in the house at Bethany or not. Jesus also knew that despite Martha's distraction and complaining, she also loved Him. On the occasion of Lazarus' death, Martha makes one of the greatest acts of faith recorded in Scripture. She responds to Jesus' declaration that He is the Resurrection and the life by telling Him that she knows that He is the Messiah. Only her love for Him could allow her to do this.
Jesus rebukes me during my Martha moments because He loves me as well, and wants me never to lose sight of Him no matter where I am or what I am doing. I also know that even in my moaning and groaning about things, Jesus knows, by my faith, that I also love Him.
St Martha helps me to see that I can have the better part no matter what I am doing or how crazy things might get. If I keep my heart and soul focused on Jesus, I will not lose my peace or fall into one of those pity parties I often find myself attending.
I like to believe that day at the house in Bethany was a turning point for Martha. She had much to learn and I somehow think she learned a great deal that day. I too have much to learn and I can learn a great deal from St Martha. She must have learned her lesson in choosing the better part~after all, she is a saint and we celebrate her feast today.
I too am troubled and distracted by many things. Pray for me that I may remember that in all I do I am serving Jesus. Help me to see past the drudgery of the ordinary things that sometimes enter into my daily life, and see and hear Jesus in my heart and soul. Pray that I will learn as you did to choose Jesus, the better part for He makes the ordinary extraordinary. May Our Lord grant these graces through your intercession.
Thursday, July 28, 2011
I just wanted to take a moment to thank Mary at The Beautiful Gate for her thoughtful post yesterday highlighting this blog. I also wanted to thank all those who took the time to read the posts she mentioned (or any others for that matter) and for your kind and encouraging comments both on this blog and hers. Thank you to all who have been faithful readers of Daughter of the King over the course of the last two and a half years and welcome to my new readers and followers.
But above all I thank our awesome God who is the true author of the words that are written on this blog and the others on which I contribute. It is His message and His only that I wish to convey in my words.
All credit, and all praise, honor and glory be to Him now and always.
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
One of my favorite priestly blogs is Vultus Christi written by Fr. Mark Kirby. He writes many posts that may be speaking to priests and those in the consecrated life, but they have a way of speaking to us all.
His post today is titled You Pass Me By and it is the plea of Jesus to His priests and consecrated religious. As I read it, I could almost hear the pain in Our Lord's voice because of the many who do pass Him by.
Jesus waits, not only for His priests and consecrated religious, but for all of us.
In reading this beautiful, yet heart wrenching plea, I realized that I may not be a consecrated religious, but I am consecrated (set apart) to Christ through my Baptism~ every Catholic is.
Jesus waits. He is in our tabernacles and in our Adoration chapels. He desires our friendship and our company even if just for a few minutes.
Fr. Mark's post is also a good reminder to pray for our priests who need our prayers now perhaps more than ever. The more time they spend with Jesus, the more they will become His living presence in our midst.
Jesus waits. May our priests and consecrated religious not keep Our Lord waiting and alone; may we not either.
Thank you to Fr. Mark and all priests who are dedicated to their vocation and who bring us Jesus each day in Word and Sacrament.
Sunday, July 24, 2011
While I love the Gospel passage for today about the pearl of great price, the reading that God used to really speak to me was the first reading from the Book of Kings. It also seems that God is asking me to write on the Gifts of the Holy Spirit whenever I sit down to write lately, so I will continue that theme again this week.
In the passage we read today from 1Kings (or 3Kings if you are using a Douay Rheims translation) what struck me most was that in Solomon's dream, God tells him to ask for something. Because Solomon was humble he asks for wisdom and a wise and understanding heart in ruling his people. Now I have to admit, that when I read this passage on my own after Mass, I did a little Scripture cheating and read verse 6 which was left out of today's reading at Mass and I also went a little beyond where the Mass reading stopped, but I am glad I did, because it was in this extra reading where I really saw Solomon's humility as well as God's limitless generosity.
Solomon knew that he was given a gift and privilege in following in his father, David's footsteps as king. I think he also felt like he was in a little over his head. Knowing this and acknowledging that he needed God's help, he asked God for wisdom. We see that God is very pleased with what Solomon asks for and because He is so very pleased with not only the request, but I also believe Solomon's humility, God showers him with riches and a long life on top of the great gift of wisdom.
I think in this passage God wants to remind us that we do need to ask Him for what we need, but we need to do so as Solomon did with a humble heart. Wisdom is a gift of the Holy Spirit. I think God is very pleased with us when we ask Him through His Holy Spirit to enliven these spiritual gifts within us. I also believe that when we pray with humility and allow God to do as He wills, we find that he lavishes us with more than we may have even asked for. I have experienced this in my own life. Either God gives what I ask for or sometimes he takes care of something that has been weighing on me before I even take it to prayer, and sometimes when I think He has said "No" to me, when I step back a bit I find that He did answer the prayer, but had something better in mind for me than what I had asked.
In our world today so many are searching for something. In reality they are actually searching for Someone. With humility and wisdom they will see He is there right in front of them, Jesus, the Pearl and great Treasure who paid the great price with His life and Precious Blood for love of each one of us.
I come before You know with all humility. Grant me the grace and gift of wisdom in discerning Your will in my life. May I use this gift in my dealings and prayer with You and in my dealings with others.
May this gift enable me to see Your abundant generosity and love for me in all Your gifts, but especially in the gift of Your Beloved Son, Jesus as He gives Himself to me in the Holy Eucharist.
I pray this in Jesus' name.
Friday, July 22, 2011
One of the best books I have ever read on St Mary Magdalen, whose feast we celebrate today, is Mary Magdalen in the Visions of Anne Catherine Emmerich. Through her visions there is a depth and humanness revealed in Magdalen's love for Christ. The visions of this mystic also reveal that Mary Magdalen went through two conversions before she dedicated herself to following Our Lord. May she intercede for us as we strive for holiness in our day to day following of Christ. May we also love unspeakably.
Here is an excerpt from the book:
I saw Him speaking alone with His Blessed Mother, and I remember some of the words that passed between them. He had, He said, sent Peter the Believing and John the Loving to Jerusalem in order to prepare for the Pasch. Of Magdalen, who was quite out of herself from grief, He said: She loves unspeakably, but her love is still encompassed by the body, therefore she has become like one quite out of her mind with pain...
After His Blessed Mother, perhaps no one loved Jesus more than Mary Magdalen. It was a love that caused her pain, but one she did not mind enduring for through the pain of this love, she found life and Love Itself.
Sunday, July 17, 2011
In the first parable Jesus uses in today's Gospel, He speaks of the weeds that grow among the wheat. The New American Bible translation used in the Lectionary uses the term "weeds". When I went to my Douay~Rheims translation, the word "cockle" was used. I now pause this reflection briefly to give a short vocabulary lesson. It is the teacher in me; I really can't help myself! I looked up cockle, but got the more traditional definition of the sea mollusk. I then remembered that the weeds Jesus referred to were also sometimes called "false wheat", so I looked up that term, and this is what I found: This weed is also called "darnel", in some regions cockle or false wheat. This weed and actual wheat look exactly alike until they are ripe. Upon ripening the actual good wheat's ear is brown while the cockle or false wheat's ear is black. OK~end of lesson, back to reflection.
I said at the beginning of this post that I felt like God was speaking directly to me in this passage. One reason for this perhaps is because He knows that I have some difficulty being around people in general. My job often requires me to deal with the general public~not one of my strong suits. What I have found myself coming up against lately is a strong sense of entitlement from people in general. I find myself wondering why many, not all, cannot seem to think about anyone but themselves. The devil has used this at times to cause me to be a bit self righteous. It is one of those sins I have brought to confession many times, really wanting to change, but find myself confessing it again at my next confession. So when I read the parable of the good and false wheat today, it was if I heard God saying: "My daughter while you roam this earth, you will need to live among the cockle, the false wheat. It is not your job to uproot it for I will deal with it in the end."
This also made me think of St Paul's words to the Ephesians: "
Friday, July 15, 2011
My prayer, meditation and reading this week seemed to have the common thread of wisdom and conscience. I also happened to come across an article by Deacon Douglas McManaman on the subject of conscience. This article got me to thinking about what conscience is and is not.
It is not uncommon to hear people say that they are following their conscience. In our culture today, however, that statement can be very misleading and also just plain wrong. There is a difference between decisions that are made according to a well-formed conscience and those that are made from a conscience that is ill-formed or even dead.
The statement "I am following my conscience." in today's culture often means: "I am doing what is right and best for me." That's not conscience, but rather moral relativism and it runs rampant in our current culture.
The well~formed conscience requires wisdom. True wisdom is a gift of the Holy Spirit. When we open ourselves to receive this gift and allow the Holy spirit to enliven it within us, we are able to make decisions with a morally, well~formed conscience. This gift also allows us to follow Christ's teachings as they have been handed down to us through the Apostles. The Magesterium is the teaching body of the Church. It does not exist as something or someone telling us what we can or cannot do. The Magesterium exists for our freedom~the freedom to choose and do what is morally right according to the absolute Truth.
The sense of right and wrong according to an absolute truth is looked upon today as something that violates personal freedom and choice. This sense is the result of living our lives according to man's law, not God's natural law. I know this to be true because for much of my life, I lived with this mindset and it led to nothing but death, destruction and much unhappiness. But the "I can do what I feel is best for me according to me" is one of the many lies Satan would have us believe. It may sound good on the outside, but upon further inspection it is rotten to the core.
It takes humility to accept the wisdom required to form a well and morally formed conscience, but when we do it gives us the freedom to live in Christ, asking for His mercy and forgiveness when we need it, and the grace to truly know the difference between right and wrong.
*Related Article: Conscience by Deacon Douglas McManaman
Sunday, July 10, 2011
I listened to and read the parable of the Sower from a very personal view today. I have heard this parable many times, but never really applied it to my own life in a very deep way. I have always listened to it or read it looking to see which of the different types of soil I might be, always hoping of course that I am the rich and fertile soil.
The truth is I have been all three kinds, and while I do believe I am a bit richer these days, that is all God's grace.
He too wants me to be the rich and fertile soil that will receive His Word and allow it to grow deep roots.
In order for this to happen, I have to allow my heart to be tilled. Just like the ground needs to be tilled so that seeds will take root and grow, my heart needs the same thing.
The tilling of my heart comes from an encounter with Christ. God the Father puts His hand to the plow of His Son, the Word made Flesh, who comes and touches me in the deepest recesses of my heart where the seeds of His love and mercy can grow and bear Him fruit that will last. This is not a one time event; it is why conversion is a continuous, life long process. My heart constantly needs to be tilled and turned so that it does not grow hard and dry.
God is always willing to do this, I just need to allow Him in asking Him to till and soften those parts of my heart that still remain hard and dry.
There are many ways to let God in. I can do it through daily prayer, reading and meditating on Sacred Scripture, or in spending time with Him before the Blessed Sacrament, but perhaps the best way is through the sacraments, especially the Eucharist. At Mass I allow Him to till my heart with His Word in Scripture and it is nourished with the Living Water in His Body and Blood in Holy Communion.
The tilling and pruning the Divine Gardener wishes to do is often painful and laborious, but it can and does bear beautiful fruit in hearts that can better love God and each other.
I allow You to enter my heart with Your Word today. I will accept Jesus there to nourish me with His Body and Blood. He is the Living Water who will bring life to the seeds You have planted.
Continue to till my hardened heart so that I may bear You fruit that will last.
Friday, July 8, 2011
The fear of the Lord is honor, and glory, and gladness, and a crown of joy. The fear of the Lord shall delight the heart, and shall give joy, and gladness, and length of days. With him that feareth the Lord, it shall go well in the latter end, and in the day of his death he shall be blessed. The love of God is honorable wisdom. And they to whom she shall show herself love her by the sight, and by the knowledge of her great works. ~Sirach 1:11~15
"For there we listen to Wisdom as a teacher in a lecture hall, delivering an all embracing discourse, here we receive it within us; there our minds are enlightened, here our wills are moved to decision. Instruction makes us learned, experience makes us wise...and so with God: to know Him is one thing, to fear Him is another, not does knowledge make a man wise but the fear that motivates him... How truly is fear of the Lord the beginning of Wisdom, because the soul begins to experience God for the first time when fear of Him takes hold of it, not when knowledge enlightens it...Fear of Him is an experience; it is a barrier to foolishness." (Bernard of Clairvaux: sermon 23)
Monday, July 4, 2011
I have to be honest~I haven't felt much like celebrating Independence Day for the last few years. As I look around this country of ours and see what has become of what our forefathers fought for, I become a bit dismayed. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are three of the first things mentioned in the Declaration of Independence. Our nation has become a place where the culture has become one of death rather than life, morals and virtue are seen as a sign of weakness, and in general life has become all about us as individuals. None of that has anything to do with true freedom and everything to do with license (licentiousness).
Now I don't mean to concentrate on the negatives, nor do I believe these things are only going on in the United States, but as today is an American holiday celebrating freedom from tyranny I won't get into the global situation.
True freedom comes from being able to do what is morally right, following natural law, not necessarily man's law. It means living the virtues. Thomas Jefferson mentions the virtue of prudence in the Declaration of Independence so our founding fathers knew that the true freedom they were fighting for meant being able to live a moral and virtuous life.
The verse I quoted at the beginning of this post is from the second stanza of America the Beautiful. Confirm Thy Soul in Self Control is also the title of an essay by Dr. Paul Kengor. This essay captures the spirit and true meaning of what Independence Day should be.
As we gather today with friends and family, let us thank God for the freedom we still have and pray for the conversion of this country~ as the song says: America, may God shed His grace on Thee. Let us also thank Him for the true freedom that comes to us in His Son, Jesus Christ.
*Click the link under the painting for a larger version and a key to those portrayed in the painting.
Sunday, July 3, 2011
"You have made us for Yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in You." ~St AugustineI hear You call to me, "Come, I will give you rest." And I want to come to You, to rest in You yet so often I do not. Instead I give in to my pride and false self~assurance and think I can go it alone, and so I remain restless.
I hear Your instruction to take Your yoke and to learn from Your example~Your yoke of humility and Your example of meekness. These You tell me is where and how I will find rest.
So I promise to trust You and to put myself completely in Your hands. I acknowledge my weakness and lay my burdens at Your feet. I know that without You nothing is possible; at best it is difficult.
I don't want to labor and be burdened any longer, so I accept Your invitation to come to You, my Source of peace and rest.
Saturday, July 2, 2011
Friday, July 1, 2011
Unlimited is the effectiveness of the God-Man's Blood - just as unlimited as the love that impelled him to pour it out for us, first at his circumcision eight days after birth, and more profusely later on in his agony in the garden, in his scourging and crowning with thorns, in his climb to Calvary and crucifixion, and finally from out of that great wide wound in his side which symbolizes the divine Blood cascading down into all the Church's sacraments. Such surpassing love suggests, nay demands, that everyone reborn in the torrents of that Blood adore it with grateful love.
an Apostolic Letter written by Blessed Pope John XXIII. May we take this month which also begins with the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, to do as Bl. John XXIII tells us~adore this outpouring of Our Lord's unlimited love with our own grateful love.
You can read the rest of Bl. Pope John XXII's Apostolic Letter here.
I also wrote more on the connection between the feast of the Sacred Heart and the Precious Blood of Christ over at Community of Catholic Bloggers.
As is my custom each month, you can find prayers for this month's devotion on my left sidebar.
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.