Tuesday, February 28, 2012

St Martin Moments

I am a little late in posting this, but one of the things that has stayed with me since hearing yesterday's Gospel passage (Matt. 25:31-46), is the story of St Martin's Cloak. While Martin was a soldier passing outside the city of Amiens, France, garbed in his uniform, he happens upon a beggar with no coat. Martin takes his sword and cuts his military robe in half and gives half to the beggar. Martin is laughed at by the locals who witness his kind deed.
That night Christ appears to Martin in a dream wearing the piece of cloak Martin gave to the beggar earlier that day. Christ says to the angels around Him: "Martin is still only a catechumen, but he has clothed Me with this garment."
Martin lived out the passage from Matthew's Gospel- "...whatever you do for the least of these, you do for Me."
Moments such as these present themselves to us throughout our lives, for some, perhaps each day. Fr. Joseph T. Lienhard,  in a reflection on this Gospel passage, calls these moments "Martin Moments". I love that! There is always someone in need of food, clothing, shelter, or maybe just a kind word or a visit.
During these days of Lent may we become more aware of these Martin Moments and act on them as St Martin did that cold winter's day.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Our Appeal To God

I love today's reading from St Peter. He speaks about baptism being an appeal to God, not for the removal of bodily dirt, but for a clean conscience~ more of a removal of spiritual dirt.
This appeal indicates that a conscious decision was made by the one being baptized. For most of us, that appeal and decision was made by our parents and Godparents when we were baptized as infants. In the days of the early Church most people were baptized as adults or as older children and it wasn't a mere sprinkling of water over the person's head, but a full immersion into the water to symbolize the dying of the baptized in and with Christ and then coming up out of the waters in His Resurrection.
In Baptism we die to ourselves and live our new lives in Christ.
Watching those coming forward for Baptism at the Easter Vigil is one of my favorite parts of that Mass. They have consciously made that appeal to God and God grants them their request in this sacrament. While those of us who have already been baptized cannot be baptized again, for what is given in this sacrament can never be taken away, we renew our baptismal vows, making that appeal to God once again. We can also make the appeal as often as we need to in the sacrament of Reconciliation.
By virtue of our Baptism, we are called to go forward living our new lives in Christ and proclaiming Him and His Kingdom to those around us.
Jesus' time in the wilderness is an example to us of how to do this. His forty days in the desert where He endured hunger, thirst and temptation fortified Him for His three years of ministry. If we are to spend our lives walking in Christ's footsteps, we need to start where He did in prayerful solitude. We don't need to go off into the wilderness, but some time in quiet in church before the Blessed Sacrament, or in our homes prayerfully reading Scripture for a few minutes each day will fortify us for the mission to which we we have been called.
May we spend these forty days of Lent in the wilderness with Jesus appealing to our Heavenly Father for a clean conscience.

~A clean heart create in me O God, and steadfast spirit place within me. (Psalm 51)

*Today's Mass readings can be found here.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Another Liebster

Back in January Patricia at I Want To See God gave me this lovely little blog award. I have been awarded it again, this time by Colleen at Thoughts on Grace. The award is given to bloggers with fewer than 200 followers.

The rules for this award are to thank the giver with a link back to their blog and then pass it on to five other bloggers. As this award has been going around for some time now, I realize I may have tagged someone already awarded. Feel free to break the rules (I usually do) by not re~posting about it.

Here are my awardees:
Colleen at Inadequate Disciple
Anne at Imprisoned in My Bones
Caroline at Bell of the Wanderer
Victor at Time for Reflections

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

And The Journey Begins...

This holy season is Your invitation to each of us, Lord Jesus. You invite us to accompany You. We follow You into the desert where we share Your hunger and thirst and face temptations. From the desert we walk with You through Your public life and ministry. The invitation here is for deeper faith and to grow closer to You and allow You to come closer to us.
Each day the cross looms larger; this cross which You embraced for love of each one of us.
May we set out on this journey not only with a sense of obligation, but with a desire to return love for love. May we die to ourselves so as to be filled by You and with Your risen Presence on Easter morning.
You came and set out on this journey so that we might live~may we too set out on this Lenten journey accepting Your invitation to share in Your Divine Life.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

What Makes God Forget Our Sins?

One answer to that question is faith, our own and also that of those who love us. It was the faith of the four friends of the paralytic that prompted Our Lord to tell this man that his sins were forgiven and because they were forgiven, those sins were forgotten. Yes, a physical healing may have taken place, but it was the healing balm of Christ's mercy that allowed the man to walk away in the sight of the doubting and disbelieving crowd. Many in that crowd may have doubted who Jesus was, but at the sight of the once paralyzed man, some may have turned to God in awe and praise.
In my own life, I know first hand the paralyzing effect of sin. The shame, guilt, and fear that comes with those sins further the paralysis. Like the man in today's Gospel, I too had a friend whose faith was stronger than my own at the time. At a time when my sins and their effects held me in a paralyzing grip, my friend brought me to Jesus through prayer and the faith he had in Jesus'healing power.
Our faith in God, in His promises, and in His desire to have us close to Him makes Him forget our sins. It is the devil who would like us to stay in the paralyzing grip of sin. It was Satan's voice speaking in the disbelieving crowd that day, and it is his voice we hear when we try to turn from sin. The voice that tells us we are not good enough, that God could never forgive this or that sin.
It is God who wants to do things in us and for us; it is He who makes all things new. He tells us in Isaiah:
 In the desert I make a way,in the wasteland, rivers.The people I formed for myself,that they might announce my praise... It is I, I, who wipe out,for my own sake, your offenses; your sins I remember no more. (Isaiah 43: 19, 25)
Let us not weary God with our sins, but confess them, and with God and by our faith, for get them.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Religious Books

Caroline from Bell of the Wanderer has tagged me for this simple little meme. She also gives a wonderful definition of the word meme in her post.
For this particular meme, I am to name three of my favorite religious books and then tag three others to do the same.
Anyone who knows me, knows I love books, so getting my list down to three is a tough thing for me to do. But here goes...
Besides the Bible, three of my favorites are:

1. Introduction to the Devout Life by St Francis deSales~ this book is a wonderful guide for anyone in any state of life trying to live the spiritual life. It is a must read for anyone serious about practicing their faith.

2. Divine Mercy in My Soul: St Faustina Kowalska's Diary~ This is one that is highlighted, dog~earred and read and re-read. It truly is inexhaustible; I get something new every time I return to a portion of it.

3. The Secret Diary of Elisabeth Leseur~ The diary of this lay french woman is very powerful. She was married to a man who did not share her faith, but finding her diary after her death, he converted and later became a Catholic priest. The cause for her canonization is underway.

So there you have it~three from my long list of favorites.

I pass this on to:
Colleen at Thoughts on Grace
Colleen at Inadequate Disciple
Patricia at I Want to See God

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Perfect Valentine

I am not a very big fan of Valentine's Day. Even when I was dating and then married, the day was not a big deal to me. On top of that St Valentine really has little to do with how this "holiday" is celebrated. Yes, I am a cynic and not much of a romantic, what can I say.
Last year I came across a poem called Valentine's Day with Jesus. I think it better describes what a valentine and this day should be about. The hearts, flowers and candy are all nice, but I much prefer Jesus' gift of Eternal life with Him.
You can read the poem here.
Despite my cynicism :) Happy Valentine's Day to all.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Enlighten, Guide, Strengthen, Console

As I was leaving our Perpetual Adoration chapel today, I picked up a prayer card from a little display outside the chapel. This little display always has different prayer cards in it, and this particular one has been there for a few weeks. Funny how I chose today to take a card. I didn't read the prayer until I got home; it was the image that caught my eye. God always knows what we need to hear and when we need to hear it, and He certainly knows how to speak the right words to us.
I am not sure of the author, but I thought I would share it here.

Come, Holy Spirit
Replace the tension within us 
with a holy relaxation;
Replace the turbulence within us 
with a sacred calm;
Replace the anxiety within us 
with a quiet confidence;
Replace the fear within us 
with a strong faith;
Replace the bitterness within us 
with the sweetness of grace;
Replace the darkness within us 
with a gentle light;
Replace the coldness within us 
with a loving warmth;
Replace the night within us 
with Your Light.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

I Have Seen My Salvation

I was reading some commentary in Magnificat on today's feast of the presentation of the Lord. It spoke about how on that particular day, many people were coming and going in the Temple, but most did not recognize the Messiah in the tiny infant Mary and Joseph brought to the Temple that day. To them it was just another Jewish couple bringing their first born son as dictated by the law. However, a few did recognize who this baby was...
Simeon declares with great excitement the true identity of this Baby as he takes Him in his arms. Simeon declares that he can now die in peace because he has seen his salvation. This one little line in Scripture (Luke 2:28~30) is one of my favorites. Simeon looks at the Infant Jesus and instantly recognizes that in this Child, his salvation lies, and so it is for us. We can look at Jesus during the elevation at Mass or exposed in the Monstrance during Adoration and echo Simeon's words: "I have seen my Salvation!"
Anna, the prophetess too must have recognized this Child too although not much is told about her. She never left the Temple and spent her days fasting and praying. How could this holy woman not have recognized the Messiah.
Whether we shout it from the mountaintops like Simeon or ponder it in our hearts as Anna, let us look at Jesus and thankfully and humbly recognize our Salvation.

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.