Tuesday, June 25, 2013

He and I: A Review

 I have to admit that I was a bit skeptical about reading this book at first. I had never heard of Gabrielle Bossis, and I am usually a bit careful about private revelation. That being said, He and I is one of the most beautiful books I have read in quite some time.
He and I is the account of the words allegedly spoken by Our Lord to Gabrielle Bossis, a lay Frenchwoman from 1936 until she died in 1950. I say allegedly spoken by Our Lord because Gabrielle never really refers to Him as Jesus, but rather as the Voice. However, the more you read, the more it becomes clear that this Voice can only be the voice of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
You begin the book reminding yourself that these words are not being spoken to you personally, but to this Frenchwoman. As you continue to read, you seem to forget that and feel as if Christ is addressing these words to you. If this book finds its way into your hands, I believe those words are for you.
While the book is an easy read, set up by year with brief journal entries, it should not be read quickly. Take your time and stop where you feel called to stop and pray. Trust me, this will happen often as you get deeper into the book. I read it highlighter in hand. There are prayers both prayed by Gabrielle as well as those given to her by Our Lord that you may want to remember and use in your own prayer life. Here are a few:

~"Holy Father, I offer you Jesus living in my life and dying in my death. I offer you the heart of Jesus in each one of my heartbeats."(p.37)

~"Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit present within me." (p.61)

~"Lord, my body and soul are Your home; may all that I am and have be used for Your glory." (p.164)

When I began reading He and I, I mentioned it to a few friends. I was amazed to discover that this book had been read by many of them, and in two cases, it had played a significant role in their return to their faith.
There is no dogma or doctrine in this book, but it does carry an Imprimatur, which is basically the OK from the Church to publish and read it.
I can't say enough good things about He and I. If your spiritual life, or your relationship with Jesus needs a bit of a spiritual boost, this book will help to do just that. If you haven't read it, if it has been sitting on your bookshelf~pick it up and begin what you will find to be not simply the journal entries of a devout laywoman, but a beautiful and intimate conversation between you and Your Lord.

*This review was written as part of the Catholic book reviewer program from The Catholic Company. Visit The Catholic Company to find more information on He and I. The Catholic Company is the best resource for all your seasonal needs such as First Communion gifts as well as ideas and gifts for the special papal Year of Faith.

                                        Comments welcome at The Front Porch.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Divine Mercy In, Through and Beyond Prison Walls

If you ever doubted the power of Divine Mercy, the story of Pornchai Moontri will erase all doubts. Fr. Gordon MacRae has posted how Divine Mercy in Bangkok, Thailand has traveled the globe and found its way into a New Hampshire prison. The details of the story are explained in great and amazing detail in Fr. Gordon's recent post titled Knock and the Door Will Open: Divine Mercy in Bangkok, Thailand.
Click the link above to visit These Stone Walls to read this wonderful story of faith and Divine Mercy. You may want to leave an encouraging thought, word or prayer for Pornchai afterward.
If you are unfamiliar with Pornchai's story from the beginning, Fr. Gordon's post has links to his earlier ones as well as posts written by Pornchai himself.

"Give glory to the Lord, for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever." ~Psalm 106

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Feast of Thanksgiving

The word Eucharist is the Greek word for thanksgiving. While here in the United States, we celebrate a national Thanksgiving Day, today our Catholic Church celebrates the feast of Corpus Christi. In a very real way, this is the Church's Thanksgiving Day. In it we celebrate the Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ. We worship and give thanks for His Eucharistic Presence.
So many do not believe that Christ is present in the Eucharist, or in some ways seem to forget that He is there. Today's feast is a wonderful reminder of the awesome gift we have been given by a God who loves us so much that He remains with us in the Blessed Sacrament.
He waits for each of us in this sacrament. If you have never done so, spend a few minutes or more if you can, with Him. Receive Him worthily in Holy Communion with as much love and devotion as your human heart can muster. If we give just a little, He will do the rest.
So as we celebrate this feast of God's greatest gift to us today, let us love and adore Him as He so desires and deserves.

"But just as He stood quietly among His apostles in the amazing beauty of His resurrection, and said, handle Me and see, so does He abide with us in the Blessed Sacrament, that we may get to know Him, to outlive our tremulous agitation, and the novelty of our surprise, and to grow familiar with Him, if we can, as our life-long Guest. There we can bring our sorrows and cares and necessities at all hours... We can choose our own time, and our visit can be as short or as long as duties permit or as love desires. There is unction and a power in the mere silent companionship of the Blessed Sacrament which is beyond all words... The ways of visiting the Blessed Sacrament must be as various as the souls of men. Some love to go there to listen; some to speak; some to confess to Him as if He were their priest; some to examine their consciences, as before their judge; some to do homage as to their king; some to study Him as their Doctor and Prophet: some to find shelter as with their Creator. Some rejoice in His Divinity, others in His Sacred Humanity, others in the mysteries of the season. Some visit Him on different days by His different titles, as God, Father, Brother, Shepherd, Head of the Church, and the like. Some visit to adore, some to intercede, some to petition, some to return thanks, some to get consolation; but all visit Him to love and, to all who visit Him in love, He is a power of heavenly grace and a fountain of many goods, no single one of which the whole created universe could either merit or confer."
The Blessed Sacrament
Fr. Frederick William Faber, D.D.

 Thoughts and Comments welcome at The Front Porch.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

The Holy Trinity: The Oneness of God


I am cheating a bit this week, and giving you a re~post from Trinity Sunday 2011. I love that the Church gives us this truly awesome feast. It helps us to remember that God is one in the three Persons. We can remember that and meditate upon it, but it won't be until we reach heaven that we will finally understand it. So for now, may we simply praise God in awesome Mystery.
Here is God's Feast Day from 2011.

God's Feast Day
This title may be simplifying things a bit, but while the Blessed and Most Holy Trinity is pure Mystery, while reflecting on this divine reality, that is what I thought, that the Solemnity of the Trinity that we celebrate this Sunday is truly God's feast day. It celebrates God~Father, Son and Holy Spirit for the Godhead they are. There are no words to explain or describe this adequately. I guess in my feeble attempt, what I mean by all this is that today we celebrate God for being God.
As far as my thoughts go, I will leave it at that. However, there have been saints who in their earthly lives have been given the grace of a deeper knowledge or understanding of the Trinity. St Faustina Kowalska is one of them. Here are a few excerpts from her Diary on the subject of the Trinity in her own life.

I understand the spiritual espousal of a soul with God, which has no exterior manifestation. It is a purely interior act between the soul and God. This grace has drawn me into the very burning center of God's love. I have come to understand His Trinitarian quality and the absolute Oneness of His Being. (Diary 1020)

After Holy Communion I communed for a while with the heavenly Father. My soul was drawn into the glowing center of love. I understood that no exterior works could stand comparison with the pure love of God. ... I saw the joy of the Incarnate Word, and I was immersed in the Divine Trinity. When I came to myself, longing filled my soul, and I yearned to be united with God (Diary, 1121).

And I will close with the TeDeum

WE praise thee, O God; we acknowledge thee to be the Lord.
All the earth doth worship thee, the Father everlasting.
To thee all Angels cry aloud; the Heavens, and all the Powers therein;
To thee Cherubim and Seraphim continually do cry,
Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Sabaoth;
Heaven and earth are full of the Majesty of thy glory.
The glorious company of the Apostles praise thee.
The goodly fellowship of the Prophets praise thee.
The noble army of Martyrs praise thee.
The holy Church throughout all the world doth acknowledge thee;
The Father, of an infinite Majesty;
Thine adorable, true, and only Son;
Also the Holy Ghost, the Comforter.

THOU art the King of Glory, O Christ.
Thou art the everlasting Son of the Father.
When thou tookest upon thee to deliver man, thou didst humble thyself to be born of a Virgin.
When thou hadst overcome the sharpness of death, thou didst open the Kingdom of Heaven to all believers.
Thou sittest at the right hand of God, in the glory of the Father.
We believe that thou shalt come to be our Judge.
We therefore pray thee, help thy servants, whom thou
hast redeemed with thy precious blood.
Make them to be numbered with thy Saints, in glory everlasting.

O LORD, save thy people, and bless thine heritage.
Govern them, and lift them up for ever.
Day by day we magnify thee;
And we worship thy Name ever, world without end.
Vouchsafe, O Lord, to keep us this day without sin.
O Lord, have mercy upon us, have mercy upon us.
O Lord, let thy mercy be upon us, as our trust is in thee.
O Lord, in thee have I trusted; let me never be confounded.

Thoughts and comments welcome at The Front Porch.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Becoming New Wineskins

It has been awhile since I have been inspired to write anything here, and quite honestly I am not sure when I will post after this, but I did come across something in a reading from the Office of Readings yesterday that is appropriate as we celebrate the feast of Pentecost today.
The only information about the author of the reading is that it is from a sermon by a 6th century African author.
The sermon was speaking about the Church and how in its unity it speaks the languages of all nations. The author used the passage in Scripture that speaks of the disciples speaking in all different languages after they had received the Holy Spirit,  and he linked it with the Scripture passage about not putting old wine into new wineskins. Here is the excerpt from the sermon:
"...So when the disciple were heard speaking in all kinds of languages, some people were not far wrong in saying: They have been drinking too much new wine. The truth is that the disciples had now become fresh wineskins, renewed and made holy by grace. The new wine of the Holy Spirit filled them, so that their fervor brimmed over and they spoke in manifold languages."
Yes, they were truly drunk in the Spirit, and like them we too should be drunk in the Spirit that has made us holy by grace.
Pentecost is the birthday of our Church, the Mystical Body of Christ. The best birthday present we could give Christ and His Church on this feast is to celebrate what, and more specifically, Who unifies us despite the diversity of languages and cultures.
May our lives become the new wineskins filled with the new wine of the Holy Spirit.

Come Holy Spirit and enliven in us Your gifts that we may bear their fruits in our lives to the benefit of our brothers and sisters, and to the greater glory of God.

Thoughts and comments welcome at The Front Porch.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

To Know and Be Known

Knowing about someone and actually knowing them are two different things. Jesus wants us to know Him, not just know about Him. Because we are earthly, finite creatures with a less than perfect nature, knowing Jesus is a life long process, but one that has eternal rewards.
Jesus on the other hand is perfect. He knows us completely. To be truly known is to be loved and understood on the most intimate of levels; only Jesus is capable of this. St Cyril of Alexandria puts it this way: "I know mine means I will receive them and give them a permanent mystical relationship with me." St Thomas Aquinas, in the voice of Jesus, tells us why those who follow Jesus hear Him: "The very fact that they hear Me is due to the fact that I know them by an eternal election."
These two saints show us that by the beautiful and simple fact that Christ knows us, He offers us a deeply personal and intimate relationship with Him.
The last recorded words of Jesus are "Follow Me." (John 21:22) In those two powerful words, Jesus offers us an invitation. It is an invitation to that permanent mystical relationship. It is an invitation to allow Him to shepherd us, to be part of His flock. If we are open to hearing His voice, it is because He knows us. He does not call us as a general collective group, but individually, each of us by name.
As with any invitation, this one too can be either accepted or rejected. If we accept Jesus' invitation to know Him, love Him, and be known by Him, we will always hear His voice and we will follow Him. This invitation from Jesus is an open one. If we ever refuse it, we can always return to Him, asking His forgiveness, and telling Him that we now want to accept this invitation.
This path of the Good Shepherd, albeit strewn with crosses, will lead us to the Father and eternal life.

Comments welcome at The Front Porch.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Desiring Jesus: Faith and Love in the Encounter

"...One day he had encountered the Master while casting his nets; he had encountered Him in accepting to row back out onto the lake; he had encountered Him on this same boat, doing the same things he was doing now. He now realized that he could do nothing, experience nothing without desiring that Jesus be present with him, in their midst..."

The above quote is from a reflection by Dom Mauro Giuseppe Lepori, O. Cist. It refers to Peter after the Resurrection. In this Gospel account, Peter decides to go fishing, but as Dom Mauro points our earlier in this reflection, it isn't necessarily fish that Peter seeks, but Jesus.
While the entire reflection is beautiful, I chose to concentrate on this one point because I could relate to it on a very deep level. After reading this, I thought about my life before I had really encountered Jesus and now afterward. The now afterward is so much better, so much more meaningful because I have Jesus to share every moment~ the good and the not so good. Without Him, life is harder, less joy~filled, and downright meaningless. Let's face it, the joys and sorrows of life mean more when we have someone we love with whom we can share them.
Since my marriage ended, I have had people say to me that they feel bad that I don't have anyone in my life. In a worldly sense that is true, and I'd be lying if I said that it didn't get to me a little every now and then. However, the truth is, I do have Someone to share my life. Jesus is with me in every moment and I don't ever want to be without Him again. So I can relate to how Peter must have felt that night as he rowed out onto the sea of Galilee. He wanted Jesus, his Friend, and Master. He wanted to tell Jesus how sorry he was for denying Him; he wanted to tell Jesus that he loved Him. Jesus knew this and gave Peter that very special opportunity through another encounter. Jesus has done the same for me. I encountered Him in a very real way when I returned to Him, and the same question He asked Peter, He asks me: "Do you love Me?" and just as emphatically as Peter, I respond: Yes, Lord, You know I do. In my response though, I add a little more than Peter and say: "Lord, may it always be so."

Thoughts and Comments welcome at The Front Porch.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Child of the One True King

I felt like a little music this morning. I heard Matthew West's latest, Hello, My Name Is... on my way in to work today and thought I would share it with all of you. No matter where we have been or what we have done, we can always return to Him and remember that we are children of the One True King.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Seeking Divine Mercy

The Second Sunday of Easter is Divine Mercy Sunday. Unfortunately my home parish was not doing anything special so I decided to go to Mass at another parish nearby. They have a Divine Mercy devotion every first Sunday, usually beginning at 3pm. Today the devotion began after their 12 Noon Mass.
I have to say, I do enjoy going to Mass at a different parish every now and then; it is a bit of a divergence from the comfortable and routine. I have attended Mass and the Divine Mercy devotion at this parish before and have always come away feeling quite "fed". Mass today was beautiful, and they even had two candidates who were receiving the sacrament of confirmation~ always good to see the Church growing in number.
When the divine Mercy devotion began, I thought things were moving a bit fast. The organist, I think may have set a record for the quickest Chaplet ever sung! About the time Benediction was coming to a close I figured out the reason for the express version of the devotion~ there was a Baptism about to take place. The back of the church was getting full and noisy.
It was at about that moment, I started to feel the "whiny brat" in me begin to surface. I whined/prayed" Lord, this is not exactly what I had in mind. Then I thought, well at least this parish made an effort to make this feast special. That right there was a touch of Divine Mercy, my whining stopped there.
On the way home, Our Lord reminded me of how this day began~ with Him in the Adoration Chapel at midnight. It was ten years ago on this feast that I began my midnight hours with Jesus each Sunday. This year He gave me an  anniversary gift~ the hour alone with Him. (a rare occurrence)There in that quiet chapel, alone with my Lord, I did not have to seek anywhere for Divine Mercy; He was right in front of me.
So while the communal devotion may have been a little spiritually lackluster, my hour with Him was not.
I know Jesus appreciates the effort I made in praying the communal devotion as reverently as possible, and I know He poured out His grace on all who stayed after Mass to pray it.
What I also realized is that I don't have to search far and wide for Jesus and His mercy. All I need to do is put myself in His presence either before the Blessed Sacrament, or in that quiet place deep within my soul where He also waits.

Comments welcome at The Front Porch.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Divine Mercy Shining Through Prison Walls

Most of us have our own stories of how Divine Mercy has worked and continues to work in our lives, and miracles abound in all of them. However, when Divine Mercy makes its way behind prison walls, the grace and miracles seem to abound even more. Such is the case for Pornchai Moontri. Those of you who read Fr. Gordon MacRae's blog, These Stone Walls, know something about this young man from Thailand. This Sunday is the third anniversary of Pornchai's reception of Baptism and First Communion; he received those sacraments on Divine Mercy Sunday three years ago.
Pornchai was invited by Fr. George David Byers of Holy Souls Hermitage to write a guest post on that blog. In Divine Mercy and the Doors of My Prisons, Pornchai tells us a bit more of his story from its beginnings in Thailand to present day in a New Hampshire prison. This young man has been through much: being uprooted from his home, being sexually molested by his stepfather, and the murder of his mother which is unsolved to this day. He also tells of the fateful day that landed him in prison and how he came to meet Fr. Gordon MacRae. Their friendship has been a great gift to both of them.
Fr. Gordon also gives some background to how Divine Mercy has worked in his life in his post for this week: In the Company of Saints and Villains: The Work of Divine Mercy.
Please take the time to read both of these posts; you will be glad you did. It is stories like these that are at the heart of living our Christian faith.
I am not linking to The Front Porch for this post~go give your comments to Pornchai and Fr. Gordon.
Thanks go to Fr. George David Byers for inviting Pornchai to share his story.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

The Joyous Day It All Changed

The minute that stone rolled away nothing was or ever would be the same again~not for the Apostles, Mary Magdalene, and not for us.
All glory, honor and praise  to Our Lord Jesus Christ. He is Risen!

Happy and Blessed Easter to all!

The Front Porch

Friday, March 29, 2013

The View From the Cross

James Tissot: What Jesus Saw From the Cross

I have followed You through the days of Your ministry. I have watched You teach, heal and console all who came to You. Now the lips that have taught and consoled have been dealt harsh blows by prideful hands, the hands  that have healed have been pierced with nails as have the sacred feet that have walked this earth.
My journey with You has lead to this mountain, the place of the skull. As I walk among the crowd that has gathered here, I see familiar faces. There is BarTimeaus whose sight You restored, the woman who was brought to You for her crime of adultery but left You that day and strives now to live Your forgiveness, and there are the siblings from Bethany~ Lazarus and his sister Martha stand amongst the crowd, but Mary, the Magdalen is where she always was, at Your feet. Even now as You are nailed to the Cross she is there weeping at the foot of it.
As Your Cross is raised, You can see all of them~those who are here out of love and those who are here with hearts hardened by hatred.
  Not all are here to jeer and taunt their God. There are those whom You have touched and healed who remember what You did for them, and they are here to console You. They were there 2000 years ago at Your Crucifixion, and we are here now on this day when we remember and commemorate it.
As we approach Your Cross to venerate it today, may we each remember what You have done in our lives. You have and continue to teach, heal and console each one of us.

Lord Jesus,
We praise You and bless Your Holy Name. By Your Cross and Precious Blood, you have redeemed each one of us.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Supper of the Lord

James Tissot's: The Last Supper

Our Lord's last Passover meal on earth was shared with eleven of His Apostles. That Passover meal was unlike any other He or any other good Jew had ever or will ever observe, for from it came the gifts of the priesthood and the Holy Eucharist.
Tonight as evening falls around the world, Holy Thursday Mass will be celebrated. This time, it is not just eleven men celebrating with Jesus, but over a billion men, women and children, not just celebrating with Jesus, but celebrating Jesus.
This day is not a Holy Day of obligation, the people who assist at this Mass are there because they want to be. For those who cannot be there, but wish to be, and for those who do not see the need to be there, those of us who are there will bring you there in prayer.
Jesus told His Apostles that He longed to share this meal with them; we too long to share it with Him. While it is a celebration, it is one that is bittersweet. As soon as it is over, Jesus begins His Passion which will lead to Calvary. Just as He invited a few Apostles to come and pray with Him in the Garden, He invites us to stay~ to pray and adore Him after Mass in Eucharistic Adoration.
Our Jesus, who is meek, humble and loving of heart made the sacrifice of His life for us so that we may have life in and with Him. Whether we are able to attend the Holy Thursday Mass or not, let us observe it prayerfully with love and gratitude in our hearts. Let us return love for love. Let us return love to Love.

Stay With Him:  Holy Thursday Reflection 2012

Thoughts and comments welcome at The Front Porch.

Monday, March 25, 2013

A Review: Consoling The Heart of Jesus


Consoling the Heart of Jesus by Fr. Michael Gaitley, MIC is an "at home retreat" with the central theme of, as the title says, Consoling the Heart of Jesus. It is a response to Jesus' words that His Sacred Heart that loves souls so much is barely loved in return.
The retreat combines the teachings of Divine Mercy, the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola, as well as St. Therese of Liseux's "Little Way".
Fr. Gaitley presents these important spiritual concepts in a way anyone can understand.
The retreat is designed with busy people in mind; Father offers a schedule so that it can be made in a weekend, but the reader can spread it out over a longer period of time. I used it as my spiritual reading for the season of Lent. He also stresses that it is for "little souls" which is why he incorporates St. Therese's Little Way.
Throughout the retreat, Fr. Gaitley presents some beautiful and powerful reflections and meditations that help the retreatant understand and delve more deeply into the Divine Mercy.
There are two appendixes at the end of the retreat. The first is on St. Ignatius' Discernment of Spirits, the good spirit which leads to spiritual joy, and the bad spirit which robs us of that joy. The second appendix is on the Diary of St. Faustina. It includes excerpts that arranged by category. (The Chaplet, Confession, Divine Mercy~For Sinners, etc,)
By the time the retreatant completes the retreat, he or she has the "tools" necessary for returning the love which Our Lord so desperately desires from us, in essence the ways and means for consoling the heart of Jesus.
I highly recommend this book for anyone, no matter where you are on your spiritual journey. Fr. Gaitley makes making the retreat easy and enjoyable. He also adds some humor along the way.
The Sacred Heart of Jesus burns with love for each of us, we owe it to Him to learn how we can return that love in a deeper and richer way. Making this retreat over five weeks of Lent has made my Lenten journey more blessed and I believe more fruitful. I will take what I have learned as we enter into Holy Week.
Thank you to Fr. Michael Gaitley for making Divine Mercy and St. Ignatius' Spiritual Exercises more accessible to all of us.

*This review was written as part of the Catholic book reviewer program from The Catholic Company. Visit The Catholic Company to find more information on Consoling the Heart of Jesus. The Catholic Company is the best resource for all your seasonal needs such as First Communion gifts as well as ideas and gifts for the special papal Year of Faith.

Comments welcome at The Front Porch.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Palm Sunday: An Exercise In Faith

There it was again on the Liturgical calendar~Palm Sunday! I could feel my spiritual angst rising at the mere thought of it. I am one of those people who does not quite know how to feel on Passion (Palm Sunday). This day begins the most different and amazing week of the entire year, Holy Week. It is the week that changed the world, the week in which our salvation is won. And here I was feeling spiritual angst.
I go to my parish's 5:30 vigil Mass because I have the midnight hour of Eucharistic Adoration, and sometimes that hour turns into two or more, so getting up for Mass on Sunday morning is a bit dicey. As I entered the church last evening, I knelt and prayed as I usually do, but I decided to have a little conversation with Jesus about how I was feeling. I asked Him how He wanted me to live this day.  I started thinking about the events of that first Palm Sunday. Jesus was coming from his friends' home in Bethany to the Mount of Olives, and then it was on to Jerusalem.  I thought about those who accompanied Him from Bethany: the Apostles, Martha, Mary and Lazarus, and I decided that I would join them... and in that moment I began to feel more peaceful.
Mass had begun, and then it was time for the reading of the Gospel, the Lord's Passion. It is the one Gospel (read today and then again on Good Friday) that we as the faithful are allowed to participate in its reading. Holy Mother Church, in her wisdom has us take the parts of the Crowd;in some spots it is the voice of those who "accuse" Peter of being one of Jesus' followers, and at others we are the voice of the crowd shouting "Crucify Him!" I became more aware of those different voices this year, and thought that one of the reasons the Church may have the faithful be different voices is because at any given time, we could be any of those people.
The other thought that came to me in my pre-Mass prayer was the advice that Fr. Michael Gaitley gives at the beginning of Consoling the Heart of Jesus, and that is that all during Lent, and especially during Holy Week, Jesus wants us to walk with Him~ not behind Him or ahead of Him, but with Him. (Actually that's where we should always be.) I realized much of my Palm Sunday angst was coming from running ahead of Our Lord. I also realized that it was OK for me to not understand why Our Lord chose to do this (aside from fulfilling Scripture). I just had to believe and trust.
I said earlier that I chose to join those accompanying Jesus on that first Palm Sunday. I will stick by them all through this holiest of weeks. I will stay especially close to Mary Magdalen and Our Lady. I am sure they will both be sure to pull me back if I start to fall be hind or get ahead of Jesus.
In addition to Fr. Gaitley's advice, I will also follow Andrew of Crete's:
"So let us spread before His feet, not garments or soul~less olives branches, which delight the eye for a few hours and then wither, but ourselves, clothed in His grace, or rather clothed completely in Him. We who have been baptized into Christ must ourselves be the garments we spread before Him. (Office of Readings for Palm Sunday)

Lord Jesus,you do
I may not always understand why You did and do the things  You do, and I know that You don't require my understanding, just my faith and love. As we commemorate Your entrance into Jerusalem, may I lay down my heart and soul before You; may they be Jerusalem for You. I welcome You and adore You with all that I am.

A Blessed Holy Week to all who visit here.

Comments welcome at The Front Porch.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Protecting Christ In Our Lives

"Let us protect Christ in our lives, so that we can protect others, so that we can protect creation!" ~Pope Francis

That one line from Pope Francis' Inauguration Homily stopped me dead in my reading tracks. It seemed to sum up what we are called to as Catholic Christians.
Christ is, or at least He should be the center of our lives. When we look around at the world and the culture, it is clear that so many have lost sight of this.
God, and more specifically, Jesus Christ is being pushed out of the fabric of daily life.
The mere prayerful mention of His name can bring a whole host of negative reactions.
So I see the Holy Father reminding us that we need to protect Christ in our lives as an awesome call to holiness. I also see it as a call to love; to love Christ, and to love Christ in each other.
As I thought more about this statement, I began to wonder how I can respond to this call to protect Christ in my life, and then live it in my daily life.
We are still in the season of Lent and fast approaching Holy Week. This holy season's practices of prayer, fasting and almsgiving are perfect ways to protect Christ in our lives.
By turning to God in prayer, we can listen to God speak to us in Scripture, in meditation on those Scriptures, and in prayer before Him in the Blessed Sacrament. We can discern what it is God wants each of us to do to protect the gift of faith He has given us.
Fasting, not so much from food, but from things that do not really matter, or that pose as a distraction to our spiritual lives will help us to protect Christ in our lives. When we turn off the TV, the radio, the cell phones, etc., we begin to focus more on Christ and His love for us, and ours for Him.
Almsgiving whether it be monetary, or the giving of our time and talents not only protects Christ in our own lives, but takes this protection to others as well.
In order for us to protect others and the creation God has entrusted to us, we need to begin with ourselves. Not in a selfish, self~centered way, but in loving ourselves as Children of God. The Cross is a good example. The vertical beam of the cross is our relationship with God through prayer and the sacraments. It is only through nourishing our souls and our lives in this way that we can take on the horizontal beam of sharing Christ with others. It is the old axiom of "You can't give what you don't have."
When we protect Christ in our own lives, we then have all that we need to go out and protect others, especially the poor and the marginalized.
So as we continue our Lenten journeys, let us protect, in our hearts and in our lives, God's greatest gift to us, His Son Jesus Christ. Then let's go share Him with those whom He has put on our paths.

Comments welcome at The Front Porch.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Living Forgiven~Meeting His Gaze

They bring this woman to You; she has been caught in the act of adultery. The religious of Your day ask what is to be done with her. They know the law; they didn't need to ask You. It was just one more opportunity for them to trap You, or so they thought.
But You turned this evil opportunity into a moment of grace and mercy for the woman.
After the scribes and pharisees were gone, You told her You did not condemn her, and from that moment to go and sin no more.
She was no longer to think of her past, but from now on she was to live forgiven. She could feel Your loving gaze upon her, and in that moment she forgave herself and met Your loving gaze. She knew, having encountered You, her Lord, she could live forgiven.
I have been that woman. No, Lord, my sins may not have been the same as hers, but they were equally grievous. I remember what it was like to stand in the center and feel condemned, not so much by the world, but by me, myself. How could I be forgiven for all I had done? How could I forgive myself. Yes the stones were taken up and ready to be thrown, but they were in my hand. The stones of shame and guilt in my own hands poised and ready to kill what was left of me.
Like the woman, You found me~ beaten up by my own guilt and shame. Your voice pierced the shrieks of my doubt, my fear, my guilt and shame. And like the woman, there was no one to condemn me. No one that is except for me. I heard You tell me that You did not condemn me and that my sins were forgiven. You told me, just like You told her: From now on, go and sin no more." I knew in that moment that You, my Lord and God had forgiven me, and all I could think was that if You forgive me, who am I not to forgive myself. I could feel the warmth of Your gaze, and I no longer wanted to fight it. I looked into Your eyes, and knew that I could go and live forgiven. In that moment of grace, the stones fell from my hands.

*Reflection based on John 8:1~11

My Dear Lord Jesus,
In Your great love for me and in Your mercy, You have forgiven me. You invite me now to live forgiven. Your powerful and loving gaze holds me, compels me to keep my eyes on You always. Help me to never doubt Your love and mercy. Let me never pick up those stones of self~hatred, self~condemnation and shame ever again. May I live forever in Your love. Knowing this, may I go and sin no more.

Comments welcome at The Front Porch.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Thanking God For Our Beloved Benedict

While I rejoice and thank God for giving us our Holy Father Francis, I also would like to take a moment to thank Him for our Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, who has been affectionately become known as Benedict the Beloved.
In our lifetimes, we have not had a Pope and a Pope Emeritus; this is a rare gift, and one I suspect the Church desperately needs and will need in the times to come.

Almighty God and Father,
We humbly come before You to thank and praise You for the gift of our new Holy Father Francis. We also thank You for the eight years of love, prayer and teaching You gave us in Pope Benedict XVI. Bless him and protect him as he begins his monastic life in prayer for Your Church and its people.
We ask this through the intercession of St Peter, our first Pope, and in the name of Your Beloved Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ.

I have written 26 posts relating to Pope Benedict XVI and his teachings, especially those from his Wednesday Audiences, as well as some of his writings. You can find them by clicking on Pope Benedict XVI in the Labels list on the left sidebar.

Thoughts and prayers welcome at The Front Porch.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

A Little More Insight Into Pope Francis

A friend sent me a link to George Weigel's article on the national Review Online site. His article titled: The First American Pope gives us some more background on our Holy Father as well as some insight into where his papacy may be headed.
Mr. Weigel met with the then Cardinal Bergoglio back in may 2012. He relates some of their conversation in his article.
While I knew that this cardinal was the right choice when he asked the faithful to pray for him before he gave us his blessing, I know it even more after reading this article.
Here is the link to The First American Pope.

Comments and discussion welcome at The Front Porch.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Thank You Heavenly Father for Our New Holy Father

I just wanted to add my voice to the excitement of having a new Pope!
May our Almighty God bless Pope Francis and Our Lady keep him and protect him under her mantle of loving protection.
You can read more about him here.

Join me in prayer for our new Holy Father at The Front Porch.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

I've Adopted a Cardinal!

As the College of Cardinals prepares to elect a new Pope,  a group got together and thought it would be a good idea for the faithful to adopt a cardinal from the college offering prayers and sacrifices so that they may be led by the Holy Spirit in electing our next Holy Father.
My cardinal's name is Lluis Martinez Sistach, the Archbishop of Barcelona, Spain.
I love the idea of praying for our cardinals as they take on this very important and difficult task.
You can adopt a cardinal here. More than 77,000 people have joined in so far.
Thanks to Nancy at The Breadbox Letters for sharing this wonderful opportunity with us.

Comments welcome at The Front Porch.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

The Promise and Hope of Heaven

"If then we are steadfast in our faith in Him, and in our love for Him, we win the victory He has won; we receive what He has promised." 
~Pope St Leo the Great

James Tissot: The Transfiguration

No matter how many times I hear the account of Jesus' transfiguration during Lent, I always feel like it is a little out of place, but in a good way. As we begin this second week of Lent, we might be feeling a little sluggish in keeping our Lenten promises. The story of Jesus' transfiguration is like a little shot in the spiritual arm. Through it Jesus does for us what He did for Peter, James and John~He strengthened them for what lay ahead during His Passion and death. In hearing this Gospel account today, we too are strengthened.
Peter, upon seeing Our Lord transfigured in the presence of Moses and Elijah tells Jesus that he does not want this moment to end. On that holy mountain  the Apostles got a glimpse of heaven and its promises. That same glory they were seeing in Jesus would be theirs as well one day. That same promise is made to us. St Paul tells us in his letter to the Philippians that: "...He will change our lowly bodies to conform to His glorified body..." Now that is something for which we can all truly hope!
So as we continue our Lenten journeys and move closer to Holy Week, let us be encouraged and strengthened by the hope and promise of heaven. All we need to do to attain that heaven is heed the Father's command to listen to His Beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.

Comments welcome at The Front Porch

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Headed For the Storm

Or perhaps we are right smack in the middle of it. With the breaking news of Pope Benedict XVI stepping down from the Chair of St Peter and Bishop of Rome, there have been as many reactions as there are people and news agencies to have them.
While I try not to read to much into the Pope's decision, or the talk it has illicited, I can't help but wonder if we are more into that final battle and trial that the Church must and will go through.
As if God wanted to confirm my wonderings, I came across Mark Mallet's recent post. It is a response to a letter he received from a reader. This reader seems to feel that a relationship with Christ is all that is needed. Loyalty to Christ's Church, well maybe not so much.
Mark does an excellent job of clearly and lovingly explaining not just to his reader, but to all of us, why loyalty to Christ's Church is necessary.
I urge you to read Mark's post. We all need to be alert, aware and attentive in the days, weeks, months and years ahead.
May the College of Cardinals entrusted with the task of electing the next Holy Father allow themselves to be led by the Holy Spirit.

And I say to thee: That thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. 
~Matt. 16:18

Comments welcome at The Front Porch

Friday, February 22, 2013

Prisoner Love

I offer this reflection for your prayer and meditation today. It is from The Way of Divine Love. This book contains the words of  Our Lord to Sr. Josefa Mendez. In this reflection, Jesus speaks to her of His love for us, and His desire for souls to spend time with Him, even for just a few minutes, before the Blessed Sacrament.
At the end of the reflection, Jesus asks Sr. Josefa if she loves Him; we can insert our names into that question as well.

"I live in the midst of sinners that I may be their life, their physician, and the remedy of the diseases bred by corrupt nature. And in return they forsake, insult and despise Me!... 

"Poor pitiable sinners, do not turn away from Me... Day and night I am on the watch for you in the tabernacle. I will not reproach you... I will not cast your sins in your face... But I will wash them in My Blood and in My Wounds. No need to be afraid... come to Me... If you but knew how dearly I love you.

"And you, dear souls, why this coldness and indifference on your part?... Do I not know that family cares... household concerns... and the requirements of your position in life... make continual calls upon you?...But cannot you spare a few minutes in which to come and prove your affection and gratitude? Do not allow yourselves to be involved in useless and incessant cares, but spare a few moments to visit and receive this Prisoner Love!...

"Were you weak or ill in body surely you would find time to see a doctor who would cure you?... Come, then, to One who is able to give both strength and health to your soul, and bestow the alms of love on this Divine Prisoner who watches for you, calls for you and longs to see you at His side.

"When about to institute the Blessed Sacrament, Josefa, these were My feelings, but I have not yet told you what My Heart felt at the thought of My chosen souls; My religious, My priests... but I will tell you all this later on. Go, now, and do not forget that My Heart loves you... and, Josefa, do you love Me?... "

The Way of Divine Love
The Words of Our Lord to Sr. Josefa Menendez

Comments welcome at The Front Porch

Sunday, February 17, 2013

He Was Hungry

James Tissot's Jesus Tempted in the Wilderness

Little phrases in Sacred Scripture sometimes grab hold of my attention. This one in Luke's Gospel for the First Sunday in Lent did just that. "He was hungry." The He being Jesus at the end of His 40 days in the desert. Little phrases like this one seem at face value, to mean nothing more than what they say. Of course Jesus was physically hungry at the end of a 40 day fast!
All of the writing in Sacred Scripture is divinely inspired by the Holy Spirit. So I often feel that those little phrases that sometimes overstate the obvious, are there for a reason and offer us some food for deeper reflection. I have used this phrase from today's Gospel for such a purpose. This is not the first time this has happened while reading or listening to a Scripture passage. Over time I have learned to pay attention to these spiritual tugs from the Holy Spirit (or at least I try to).
Since Jesus' physical hunger would have been an obvious fact to anyone, St Luke may have been inspired to include it for a deeper reason. Let's take a look at the context of what was going on in this passage, what came before and what would follow.
Jesus had just come from the Jordan where He was baptized by John the Baptist. Scripture then tells us that He was led by the Spirit into the wilderness. Here Jesus spends 40 days and nights during which time He is tempted three times (probably more) by Satan. So at the end of that 40 days, Jesus leaves the wilderness, yes physically hungry and tired, but I dare say probably spiritually charged for what would lie ahead~ three years of public ministry, and eventually the Cross.
This why I felt that there was more to that three worded phrase than met the eye. The more I let those words roll around my heart and brain, it seemed that maybe Jesus hungered for more than mere bread. After all, during His first temptation from the devil, Jesus' response to him is that "One does not live by bread alone..." St Matthew's version of this scene goes on to say: "but by every word that comes from the mouth of God."
Jesus is the Word sent by God His Father. Perhaps Jesus was hungry for souls to hear His message during the time He would travel, teach and preach. He hungered for souls, those He met during those three years of public ministry, and those that would come to know Him down through the ages~that includes each of us.
Jesus hungered for souls then at the beginning of His ministry, just as He thirsted for them as He hung on the Cross at the end of it.
As we journey with Jesus during these 40 days in our own Lenten wildernesses, let us remember Jesus' hunger for each of us and for those who do not yet know Him. May our lives reflect that spiritual hunger of His just as it was reflected in the lives of the Apostles.

Lord Jesus,
As we spend these 40 days in the Lenten wilderness, may we too hunger and thirst for souls. May our lives reflect the love You have for each of us so as to touch those who do not yet know You. May the grace of this blessed season leave us spiritually nourished ready to live and share the Good News of the Paschal Mystery.

*Comments welcome at The Front Porch.

Friday, February 15, 2013

All Seems to Be Well

Those of you who have tried to visit here over the last two days found some unpleasant warnings from Google. I have, with Blogger's help, managed to fix the problem. So the coast is clear.
It seems the malware was embedded in one of the sites I was following either on my bloglist or my Catholic Links list. I have removed both of those gadgets. That seemed to do the trick. Since I do like the benefit of allowing other vistors to visit the blogs I follow, I will try rebuilding that gadget with your blogs. If the warning comes back, I guess it will have to be removed permanently~we'll see.
Some of this was brought on by my own naivete and laziness. Here are a few things you may want to do to beef up the security of your own blogs (if you don't already do them.)

1. Change your password every so often.

2. If using Google Chrome, do not leave your Dashboard or e-mail open via a bookmark on the toolbar.

3. Sign out of e-mail and Google account at the end of each session.

Thanks for your patience in this. Hope you come back to visit soon.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Our Lenten Journeys and Splinters of the Cross

James Tissot's: Jesus Tempted in the Wilderness

This blessed season has come a little earlier than usual this year, but here we are again readying ourselves to enter into the desert with Our Lord. I know I have said this before, but I really do enjoy the season of Lent; it is like spiritual boot camp for me. By entering that desert with Jesus, I have the opportunity to draw closer to Him.
As Lent approaches every year, I listen to people talk about what they are giving up. Giving up chocolate, coffee, social networking is all good, but what this season really calls us to do is to give up sin. The way to do that is to turn to the Cross. By dying to ourselves, which is what all that giving up is really about, we find ourselves drawing closer to Christ. It is only through Him that we can turn from sin with any measure of success.
The Gospel for today tells us just that. Jesus tells us to pick up our cross and follow Him; to lose our lives so that we can gain life in Him. The priest who said Mass today spoke about "accepting the splinters" of the Cross. Meaning that our everyday lives give us many small crosses to pick up, or splinters. Sitting in traffic, the person at work who loves to get under your skin, living with a cold or flu for a week~ you get the idea. All of these things are crosses we can pick up and offer to Jesus. I always pray the prayer "Thank you Jesus for giving me something to offer you." when one of those little annoying splinters finds it way into my day. For on my own I would probably not choose to accept suffering, even minor suffering. Accepting the splinters helps us to accept the bigger wooden beams when they come, and all of this can help us as we begin our Lenten journey and continue our lives as Christians.
As for my own Lenten formula, I am giving up television because it is my biggest distraction, especially at night. I plan to use the extra time for prayer (praying evening and night prayer from the Liturgy of the Hours more regularly), spiritual reading, and writing here on this blog with a little more regularity. I also use the reflections from The Spiritual Exercises Blog. I discovered this blog about 4 years ago and find it that helps keep me on track. I use the reflections and the questions as journal prompts. My journal entries are always "letters to Jesus" so it makes journaling feel more like a conversation with Him. The reflections are based on the Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius of Loyola. This happens to pair well with my main source of reading this year which is Consoling the Heart of Jesus by Fr. Michael Gaitley.
May we all have a blessed and fruitful Lent so to rejoice even more deeply at Easter.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

God's Mercy Being Lived Behind Stone Walls


I have been a follower of Fr. Gordon MacRae's blog, These Stone Walls since its beginning. After reading much of his case, I have also been a sort of sideline champion of his cause, posting about his case and his blog here every now and again.
Over the course of Father's posts, he has introduced us to his cellmate Pornchai Moontri. Several stories have been written about this young man, and for good reason. His story is one of conversion, faith, hope and love despite the toughest of circumstances~before and during prison.
The latest story is from Felix Carroll of the Divine Mercy site. His article titled Mercy~Inside Those Stone Walls tells the story of this young man and the beautiful influence his friendship with Fr. Gordon has been in his life.
If you have never visited These Stone Walls, I invite you to do so. Even if all you do is leave a comment offering a prayer for Father and the men there. That means more than you know. We may not all be able to visit Father in person, but visiting his blog definitely counts as a prison visit.
Fr. Gordon also celebrates Mass in his cell every Sunday between 11 pm and midnight. You can offer and unite your prayers with his during this time.

I am not leaving a link for this post on The Front Porch. Go spend the time you would have spent leaving me a comment reading Felix Carroll's article and Fr. Gordon's latest post.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

If Thou Will It

I love the leper in today's Gospel. He basically prays the prayer: "Thy will be done." When he comes to Jesus for healing. He doesn't just ask Jesus to heal him, but says: :If Thou will it..." and of course Jesus does will it.
I offer you today a reprint of a post I wrote back in 2009 on this Gospel passage. In that post I talk about how we can suffer from spiritual leprosy due to our sins. Jesus wants to heal us, but we have to approach him with the humility and trust of the leper from the Gospel. We should also never assume God's will, but always pray Thy will be done or in the words of the leper, If Thou will it.
My post, as well as the message of this Gospel passage, also go well with a series Mary at The Beautiful Gate(see link at end of post) has written on dealing with our emotions in physical and spiritual healing. If you have not read her posts on this, I urge you to do so.
God does want to heal us, but we have to meet Him half way. As the Psalm says: When we hear His voice, we should not harden our hearts (see Psalm 95). We should open them, and be ready to do the work He requires of us.
There are links to Mary's  posts on dealing with our emotions at the end of this post. Here is the reprint of my 2009 post...

The Leper~ A Self~Reflection

If thou wilt, thou can make me clean."
Mark 1: 40
Hearing and rereading today's Gospel passage about the leper who approached Jesus reminds me of myself before my return to Christ and his Church.
There is physical leprosy, but there is also spiritual leprosy. In the physical form, a virus infects the body and parts begin to die and fall off. People with this disease are usually outcasts sent far away into isolation so as not to infect anyone else. In spiritual leprosy, sin infects the soul and it begins to die. Through sin the soul isolates itself from God's grace and the Church. The cure for the spiritual type (and probably to some extent the physical type as well) is faith in Jesus Christ.
Six years ago, after allowing my soul to die over the course of many years from countless sins- some very serious, I found my way back home. This did not come without God's grace and some human help as well. I found the courage to approach Jesus in faith and with as much humility as I could muster and asked him for healing. He responded to me immediately as he did the leper in today's Gospel. This man was able to approach Jesus in his humanity while he walked this earth. I was able to approach him through his priest in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. I was made clean; our Lord willed it.
Our modern society has lost its sense of sin and the damage it does to us. Even at times our own parish priests don't seem to preach on it for fear of emptying the pews. We need to hear it. I needed to hear it. Not that I or any of us want to; it's never pretty. Speaking for myself, I needed to hear that I was sick and face what got me that way.
The leper knew he was unclean and he didn't want to be isolated anymore. It must have taken a lot of courage, not to mention faith, for him to approach Jesus. He did so with faith and humility; "if thou wilt it..." That simple phrase is an act of faith and humility. He didn't demand that Jesus heal him and he didn't say, "if you can"He believed that if our Lord willed it, he would be healed.
After much self-examination, I realized I was unclean and like the leper, I didn't want to be isolated anymore- not from God's grace or from his Church. After I approached Jesus through his priest in confession, I did what the leper did- I went and told everyone! Although I really didn't have to; most people could see my healing in how I began to live my life from that point on.
Every now and then the leprosy tries to return, but I do my best not to let it. I know where to find my "Divine Primary Care Physician". (He's a lot easier to find than any in my earthly health plan!) The words of absolution are probably the sweetest and most beautiful words we can hear.
The moral of the story? We need to form our consciences so that we know when we are sick through sin. Then we need to approach the Divine Physician in the sacraments. Making a good confession will make us clean and receiving our Lord in the Eucharist will give us the strength to stay that way.
If you are reading this and are in need of a "spiritual bath", don't be afraid to approach Jesus. As long as you do so with humility and faith, he is there waiting to stretch out his hand to give you his healing grace just as he did for the leper- just as he did for me.

Comments welcome at The Front Porch

Related Links from The Beautiful Gate

Monday, January 14, 2013

The Spirit's Groanings

Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmity. For we know not what we should pray for as we ought; but the Spirit himself asketh for us with unspeakable groanings. ~Romans 8:26

My last post talked about the workings of the Holy Spirit in our daily lives. I would like to continue along these lines with some thoughts on the Holy Spirit and our prayer lives.
In my conversations with people on the topic of prayer, I find that most people seem to pray to one particular Person of the Holy Trinity. Some feel drawn to pray to the Father, others to Jesus, and a rare few to the Holy Spirit. There is nothing wrong with going to one Person, but I think we limit our prayer a bit when we do. 
Now if you remember your catechism days, you were probably taught that we should pray to the Father, through Jesus, His Son with the help of the Holy Spirit. There is good reason for this because the three Divine Persons of the Holy Trinity are inseparable; where One is, so are the other Two. This is true whether we are at Mass, before the Blessed Sacrament or at home praying.
That being said, we are also taught to invoke the Holy Spirit's aid before beginning any prayer. I find this especially essential before praying with Sacred Scripture. The Holy Spirit does what Jesus did for those disciples on the road to Emmaus~ He opens them up. As is quoted above: St Paul tells us in his letter to the Romans that we do not know how to pray as we should, but that the Spirit intercedes and prays with unspeakable groanings within us. So we definitely need His help!
So while most of us may feel drawn to pray to one particular Person of the Trinity, we should always begin that prayer by asking the Holy Spirit to help us in our prayer. 
As for myself, I usually go straight to Jesus. In my informal conversational type prayer I may not directly ask for the Spirit's help. However before Mass, before the Blessed Sacrament, or before praying the Liturgy of the Hours (or any kind of Scripture based prayer), I always invoke the Holy Spirit first. I notice a difference if I forget to do so.
The Holy Spirit has been referred to as the most neglected of the Three Persons. I believe this is sad, but true. 
Jesus sent us the Holy Spirit because He knew we would need His help. We receive the Holy Spirit first in Baptism and then again in Confirmation. With Him come His seven amazing gifts, all of which bear specific fruits if we allow Him to work in us. And this begins with our prayer lives. We can not bear fruit that will last in our day to day lives without prayer, and our prayer does not bear fruit without the Spirit's unspeakable groanings within us.
So if you have been leaving the Third Person out of your prayer lately, invite Him back in~you will be glad you did. 

Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created. And You shall renew the face of the earth. 

O, God, who by the light of the Holy Spirit, did instruct the hearts of the faithful, grant that by the same Holy Spirit we may be truly wise and ever enjoy His consolations, Through Christ Our Lord, Amen.

Comments welcome at The Front Porch

Thursday, January 10, 2013

In The Power of the Spirit

"Jesus returned to Galillee in the power of the spirit..." These words that begin the 14th verse of Chapter 4 in Luke's Gospel, to me, are quite compelling. In fact, this entire passage is one I find to be one of the most powerful in the Gospels.
In a homily given by one of my parish priests, Father went on to tell us that it wasn't or isn't just Jesus that lives in the power of the Spirit, but that we each do. This same Holy Spirit was given to us at our Baptism and at Confirmation. This Holy Spirit manifests itself in us, in our daily lives, and goes out to touch those we encounter each day if we cooperate with the power from the Spirit.
Father gave the example of a sort of homework assignment he had given to someone he was ministering to. He told the person to buy a single rose on his way home. The person went and did what Father asked him to do, but the florist would not sell him a single rose. So he went off to the supermarket and found that for less money than he would have spent at the florist, he could buy a dozen roses. This person kept one and gave the rest away. Father told us that he really did not know where the idea of telling this person to buy the rose came from, and that this person wasn't really sure why he was buying the dozen roses. This, Father said was evidence of the Spirit at work in both their lives~not to mention the eleven people who received a rose.
Jesus lived the power of the Spirit every day of His life; it was part of His Divine Nature after all, but we have been blessed with this same gift. We are not divine by nature, so it takes some extra attention to the Spirit's promptings on our part, but it is possible.
So where is the Holy Spirit leading you today? How is He working in your every day life?
Remember, the Spirit is upon all of us~let's cooperate!

Comments welcome at The Front Porch.

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.