As Catholics, we are ORDERED to treat everyone with dignity, mercy and love. We are not ordered to embrace sin and in no way can anyone change the Dogma of the Church.
An unjust law, is no law at all. If ONE unjust law, is accepted, that would mean ALL unjust laws would have to be embraced and accepted. It’s not an option.
Watch and see that the EDITING of this “movie” in which Pope Francis was “quoted”, was edited to cut out the full quote and the proper context in which Pope Francis had actually spoken on this subject.
No different than ALL the other times our Holy Father was taken out of context and misquoted.
Trust in our Lord, love one another anyway and be at peace.
I must share this beautiful reflection from today’s Lectio Divina, through today’s Gospel.
“Jesus overcame the power of evil, Satan, who causes so much fear to people, He dominated him, seized him, conquered him, cast him out, eliminated him, exterminated him, destroyed him and killed him!” By this the Gospel wants to tell us: “It is forbidden to the Christian to fear Satan!” By his Resurrection and by his liberating action, Jesus drives away from us the fear of Satan, He gives freedom to the heart, firmness in our actions and causes hope to emerge in the horizon! We should walk along the path of Jesus savoring the victory over the power of evil!
Be not afraid to do the same. Fear nothing but our Lord. Have the courage that strengthens in Love, to conquer all that is holding you back from loving as you have been called to love.
After morning prayers this morning, I sat and watched the series, The Chosen. About ten minutes into it, the phone rang. I looked to see who it was, and I did not answer the phone. There was no need to. As I seen the name, I was flooded with Light. There was no need to answer the phone, as I had already answered the “call”. I did not know who was on the other end of the phone, but I do know Him, who called me long ago.
It is said of St. Mary Magdalene, that our Lord had expelled seven demons from her. (see Mk 16:9; Lk 8:2). She is a deeply penitent women of our Lord’s. She had given herself completely to our Lord, in the way of service to the Apostles. Giving up herself, for Him, which is The highest form of gratitude to our Lord. It’s not a simple thank you, but a life of thanksgiving. A life lived full in Love with Him. In choosing to do what is right and just, and doing His will.
I will never forget the day He called me. It is an unforgettable moment, that dictates every action that I take now, still. It was a day that I truly was given hope. It was a day that my soul cried and was answered by the One who created me. It can never be forgotten nor understood in words in which I try to write or say. It can only be understood in the mystery of faith.
Again I say, I did not answer the phone today, but the call long ago and carry the message with me always. The call from our Lord to repent and believe in Him. Today, I ask you too, for the glory of our Lord, repent and believe in the Gospel, before the day that phone rings. To allow yourself to be purged of all that is not Him. Of all that is evil. Of all that tarnishes the soul.
Today is the Feast of Saints Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael, archangels.
Fantastic talk by Bishop Robert Barron on what is going on. Listen closely and see if you can see why our education system is failing. Why Hollywood is failing and keeps putting out trash. It IS Marxism. It IS Communism. It is the driving out God and replacing Him with me. This is the driving force of Communism. Fluid is a word heard a lot lately, be it gender fluid etc. When we see fluid as in a body of water, it always needs a form to be identified. What communism does is preach to the individual that YOU are in control of what you would like the form to be. Without thinking about where and Who created the “fluid” to begin with.
Think of Life Giving Water. Jesus Christ offers us the water of life. What form does this life giving water produce, but that of THEE Truth. With THEE Truth, comes law, order, freedom and peace.
O most holy virgin, mother of our Lord Jesus Christ: by the overwhelming grief you experienced when you witnessed the martyrdom, the crucifixion, and the death of your divine Son, look upon me with eyes of compassion and awaken in my heart a tender commiseration for those sufferings, as well as a sincere detestation of my sins, in order that, being disengaged from all undue affections for the passing joys of this earth, I may long for the eternal Jerusalem, and that henceforth all my thoughts and all my actions may be directed toward this one most desirable object.
Honor, glory, and love to our divine Lord Jesus, and to the holy and immaculate mother of God. Amen.
The prophecy of Simeon. (St. Luke 2:34, 35)
The flight into Egypt. (St. Matthew 2:13, 14)
The loss of the Child Jesus in the temple. (St. Luke 2: 43-45)
The meeting of Jesus and Mary on the Way of the Cross.
The taking down of the Body of Jesus from the Cross.
Yesterday, as I returned from physical therapy, I was greeted by the most beautiful flower. My “King of the Blues” Lotus was in bloom! It had graciously surprised me, as it was not supposed to bloom this late in the season and I did not expect it until next May. I was SO overcome with joy and awe! I could not believe it had bloomed.
From the moment I started working on this little pond, I had pondered, no pun intended, the beauty of the Lotus. I had always wanted them. They had become a favorite flower of mine going all the way back to childhood. Probably because I could not have them. Growing up in the Midwest and Chicago winters, prevented the thought of every having them. Now living in Souther California, and seeing them bloom at my sisters before she remover her pond, sparked the interest in me to grow them here.
When I seen the “King of the Blues” lotus for the first time, I knew it was one I needed to try to grow. I deeply admire blues music and through suffering thought it would be a beautiful addition of joy to my garden.
The day I received this tiny little tuber, it had two little leaves curled up and not even open. I thought of the parable of the mustard seed, and its tininess of what it could become. As I planted it, I pondered the spiritual meaning of the flower. What this most beautiful flower is planted in, is very thick and soggy mud. Like the sludge of the earth. How we too are born in this world of sin and suffering, trying to make our way through it all, from birth to death. The filthy mud and water we make our way through, sometimes overcome by it all. In the midst of chaos, my Lotus blooms. In Christ, we rise above it all.
If you have ever had to walk through thick mud, you may understand what I am referring to. This world cakes us in sinfulness and we, through the grace of our Lord and His sacrament of Baptism (water), must find His way out of it and overcome it all. Well, like the Lotus flower, we do just that when we follow our Lord . We are called to rise above the murky waters and filth of this world to give glory to Him. That which we suffer through, is only but a moment of time and we grow from it.
Today is the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Yesterdays beautiful bloom made me ponder her more deeply as the Most Beautiful Flower. Today as I looked deeper, I was able to see that I now have TWO beautiful flowers, inspiring me to singing the Hymn: Mary the Dawn
Mary The Dawn
Mary the dawn, Christ the Perfect Day; Mary the gate, Christ the Heavenly Way! Mary the root, Christ the Mystic Vine; Mary the grape, Christ the Sacred Wine! Mary the wheat sheaf, Christ the living Bread; Mary the rose tree, Christ the Rose blood-red! Mary the temple, Christ the temple’s Lord; Mary the shrine, Christ the God adored! Mary the beacon, Christ the Haven’s Rest; Mary the mirror, Christ the mother’s Son. Both ever blest while endless ages run. Amen
In the midst of chaos, my Lotus blooms. With a crown of Glory, she is adorned. Mama Mary, pray for us.
“Lord, you reward your faithful servants with prosperity, but for servants not of your mind, your justice will come and you will deliver your people from oppression and slavery. As the city of Hong Kong is under threats of abusive control, we pray for your mercy. Amongst adversaries and oppression, we believe your Word and Grace shall bring back the confidence and hope of your people.”
Back in the early 70’s, I remember my mom and dad having a discussion about the Church and all the changes taking place. SSPX was brought into the conversation and keep in mind, if you didn’t live through this time, you can’t imagine the confusion for souls who didn’t understand what was taking place. My dad had asked my mom what advise my great uncle was giving. Keep in mind, my great uncle was a Catholic Priest, who was living in Communist Slovakia. My mom told my dad, he said: Stick with Peter. And we did.
We must not fear what our Lord brings about. It is His Church. He is the Head. We are His members.
Bishop Robert Barron has a GREAT video today, on the subject of Vatican II which I must share.
Novena to St. Peter
St Peter, now that we are aware of the pressures the priests and bishops, cardinals and The Holy Father of Mother Church are under, I ask that you hear my prayer for you to send protection, guidance, support and encouragement to them, not forgetting the seminaries and the Brides Of Christ. The devil has been strong in recent times, not least in the last century and the beginning of this one. I ask that you intercede and ask St Michael and the archangels to fight the battle which needs to be fought for them. The Devil hides within holes throughout the centuries and I ask that you help the angels to find the places no matter how well hidden where he lurks and meddles from. I know you shall not fail for my having asked you and I know that my prayers will be answered. The devil so often commands the moment. We are blessed to know that the eternal is the essential and we place our faith and knowledge in The Truth that our faith blesses us to know. For the love of Jesus and the loving balm of the Holy Mother, help Mother Church to save Human Dignity. Amen
I pledge to pray this every day for nine days – (or 54 days) and network this so that all Catholics are made aware of its existence.
Continuing with yesterday’s post, we move into today’s Gospel. Always. How many times must I forgive? Always. It’s hard to think of doing this, especially when someone has hurt us, or when someone continues to hurt us, or when we see someone consistently making bad choices which move them to take out their own frustrations on us. BUT, it is necessary, as we know how much our Lord has forgiven us, when we too have been on that same path. As we forgive others, our Heavenly Father has forgiven us.
Matthew 18:21-22: Forgive seventy times seven! Before the words of Jesus on fraternal correction and reconciliation, Peter asks, “How often must I forgive? Seven times?” Seven is a number which indicates perfection and, in the case of Peter’s proposal, seven is synonymous with always. But Jesus goes beyond. He eliminates whatever possible limitation there may be to pardon: “Not seven, I tell you, but seventy-seven times”. It is as if He would say “Always, Peter! Even seventy seven times! Always!” This is because there is no proportion between God’s love for us and our love for our brother. Here we recall the episode of the Old Testament of Lamech: “Lamech says to his wives, Adah and Zillah, hear my voice; listen to what I say: I killed a man for wounding me, a boy for striking me. Sevenfold vengeance for Cain, but seventy-sevenfold for Lamech” (Gen 4:23-24). The task of the communities is to reverse the process of the spiral of violence. In order to clarify His response to Peter, Jesus tells them the parable of pardon without limits.
Today’s Gospel beings the discourse of our Lord, in how to properly correct a soul who has failed. Keep in mind, “failure” is not the end, but a moment to address where the soul has gone wrong and rectify it, in love.
The Carmelites have a beautiful reflection on this today, and I MUST share it.
Matthew 18:15-18: Fraternal correction and the power to forgive. These verses give simple norms of how to proceed in case of conflicts in the community. If a brother or a sister should sin, if they had behavior not in accordance to the life of the community, they should not be denounced immediately. First, it is necessary to try to speak with them alone. Then it is necessary to try to know the reasons of the other. If no results are obtained, then it is necessary to take two or three persons of the community to see if it is possible to obtain some result. Only in extreme cases is it necessary to expose the problem to the whole community. If the person refuses to listen to the community, then they should be considered by you as “a sinner or a pagan”, that is, as someone who is not part of the community. Therefore, it is not you who excludes, but it is the person himself/herself who excludes himself/herself. The community gathered together only verifies or ratifies the exclusion. The grace to be able to forgive and to reconcile in the name of God was given to Peter (Mt 16:19), to the Apostles ( Jn 20: 23) and, here in the Discourse on the Community, to the community itself (Mt 18:18). This reveals the importance of the decisions which the community assumes in regard to its members.
The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America is inviting all Christians and people of goodwill to join in a Day of Mourning on Friday, July 24 for the conversion of the #HagiaSophia in Istanbul back into a mosque after serving for over eighty years as a museum. The museum was a place of encounter and dialogue between people of all faiths and cultures. The Greek Orthodox have asked that every Church toll its bells, every flag be raised to half-mast and that the Akathist Hymn is chanted in the evening. For Catholics unfamiliar with the Akathist Hymn, the recitation of the Rosary is recommended, as both prayers entreat the Mother of God for her intercession.
Today is a good day, to read this from Venerable Fulton J. Sheen:
There are not over a hundred people in the United States who hate the Catholic Church. There are millions, however, who hate what they wrongly believe to be the Catholic Church – which is, of course, quite a different thing. These millions can hardly be blamed for hating Catholics because Catholics “adore statues”; because they “put the Blessed Mother on the same level with God”; because they say “indulgence is a permission to commit sin”; because the Pope “is a Fascist”; because the “Church is the defender of Capitalism.” If the Church taught or believed any one of these things it should be hated, but the fact is that the Church does not believe nor teach any one of them. It follows then that the hatred of the millions is directed against error and not against truth. As a matter of fact, if we Catholics believed all of the untruths and lies which were said against the Church, we probably would hate the Church a thousand times more than they do.
If I were not a Catholic, and were looking for the true Church in the world today, I would look for the one Church which did not get along well with the world; in other words, I would look for the Church which the world hates. My reason for doing this would be, that if Christ is in any one of the churches of the world today, He must still be hated as He was when He was on earth in the flesh. If you would find Christ today, then find the Church that does not get along with the world. Look for the Church that is hated by the world, as Christ was hated by the world. Look for the Church which is accused of being behind the times, as Our Lord was accused of being ignorant and never having learned. Look for the Church which men sneer at as socially inferior, as they sneered at Our Lord because He came from Nazareth. Look for the Church which is accused of having a devil, as Our Lord was accused of being possessed by Beelzebub, the Prince of Devils. Look for the Church which, in seasons of bigotry, men say must be destroyed in the name of God as men crucified Christ and thought they had done a service to God. Look for the Church which the world rejects because it claims it is infallible, as Pilate rejected Christ because He called Himself the Truth. Look for the Church which is rejected by the world as Our Lord was rejected by men. Look for the Church which amid the confusion of conflicting opinions, its members love as they love Christ, and respect its Voice as the very voice of its Founder, and the suspicion will grow, that if the Church is unpopular with the spirit of the world, then it is unworldly, and if it is unworldly, it is other-worldly. Since it is other-worldly it is infinitely loved and infinitely hated as was Christ Himself. But only that which is Divine can be infinitely hated and infinitely loved. Therefore the Church is Divine. If then, the hatred of the Church is founded on erroneous beliefs, it follows that basic need of the day is instruction. Love depends on knowledge for we cannot aspire nor desire the unknown. Our great country is filled with what might be called marginal Christians, i.e., those who live on the fringe of religion and who are descendants of Christian living parents, but who now are Christians only in name. They retain a few of its ideals out of indolence and force of habit; they knew the glorious history of Christianity only through certain emasculated forms of it, which have married the spirit of the age and are now dying with it. Of Catholicism and its sacraments, its pardon, its grace, its certitude and its peace, they know nothing except a few inherited prejudices. And yet they are good people who want to do the right thing, but who have no definite philosophy concerning it. They educate their children without religion, and yet they resent the compromising morals of their children. They would be angry if you told them they were not Christian, and yet they do not believe that Christ is God. They resent being called pagans and yet they never take a practical cognizance of the existence of God. There is only one thing of which they are certain and that is that things are not right as they are. It is just that single certitude which makes them what might be called the great “potentials,” for they are ready to be pulled in either of two directions. Within a short time they must take sides; they must either gather with Christ or they must scatter; they must either be with Him or against Him; they must either be on the cross as other Christs, or under it as other executioners. Which way will these marginal Christians tend? The answer depends upon those who have the faith. Like the multitudes who followed Our Lord into the desert, they are as sheep without a shepherd. They are waiting to be shepherded either with the sheep or goats. Only this much is certain. Being human and having hearts they want more than class struggle and economics; they want Life, they want Truth, and they want Love. In a word, they want Christ.
It is to these millions who believe wrong things about the Church and to these marginal Christians, that this little book is sent. It is not to prove that they are “wrong”; it is not to prove that we are “right”; it is merely to present the truth in order that the truth may conquer through the grace of God. When men are starving, one need not go to them and tell them to avoid poison; nor to eat bread because there are vitamins in bread. One need only go to them and tell them that they are starving and here is bread, and the laws of nature will do the rest. This book of “Radio Replies” with 1,588 questions and answers goes out on a similar mission. Its primary task is not to humble the erroneous; not to glorify the Catholic Church as intellectual and self-righteous, but to present the truth in a calm, clear manner in order that with the grace of God souls may come to the blessed embrace of Christ.
It is not only the point of “Radio Replies” to prove that the Church is the only completely soul-satisfying Church in existence at the present day; it is also to suggest that the Catholic Church is the only Church existing today which goes back to the time of Christ. History is so very clear on this point, it is curious how many minds miss its obviousness. When therefore you, the readers of “Radio Replies” in the twentieth century, wish to know about Christ and about His early Church, and about His mysteries, we ask you to go not only to the written records but to the living Church which began with Christ Himself. That Church or that Mystical Person which has been living all these centuries is the basis of our faith and to us Catholics it speaks this way: “I live with Christ. I saw His Mother and I know her to be a Virgin and the loveliest and purest of all women in heaven or on earth; I saw Christ at Caesarea-Philippi, when, after changing Simon’s name to Rock, He told him he was the rock upon which the Church would be built and that it would endure unto the consummation of the world. I saw Christ hanging on a cross and I saw Him rise from His tomb; I saw Magdalene rush to His feet; I saw the angels clad in white beside the great stone; I was in the Cenacle room when doubting Thomas put fingers into His hands; I was on Olivet when He ascended into heaven and promised to send His Spirit to the apostles to make them the foundation of His new Mystical Body on earth. I was at the stoning of Stephen, saw Saul hold the garments of those who slew him, and later I heard Saul, as Paul, preach Christ and Him crucified; I witnessed the beheading of Peter and Paul in Rome, and with my very eyes saw tens of thousands of martyrs crimson the sands with their blood, rather than deny the faith Peter and Paul had preached unto them; I was living when Boniface was sent to Germany, when Augustine when to England, Cyril and Methodius to the Poles, and Patrick to Ireland; at the beginning of the ninth century I recall seeing Charlemagne crowned as king in matters temporal as Peter’s vicar was recognized as supreme in matters spiritual; in the thirteenth century I saw the great stones cry out in tribute to me, and burst into Gothic Cathedrals; in the shadows of those same walls I saw great Cathedrals of thought arise in the prose of Aquinas and Bonaventure, and in the poetry of Dante; in the sixteenth century I saw my children softened by the spirit of the world leave the Father’s house and reform the faith instead of reforming discipline which would have brought them back again into my embrace; in the last century and at the beginning of this I heard the world say it could not accept me because I was behind the times. I am not behind the times, I am only behind the scenes. I have adapted myself to every form of government the world has ever known; I have lived with Caesars and kings, tyrants and dictators, parliaments and presidents, monarchies and republics. I have welcomed every advance of science, and were it not for me the great records of the pagan world would not have been preserved. It is true I have not changed my doctrine, but that is because the doctrine is not mine but His who sent Me. I change my garments which belong to time, but not my Spirit which belongs to eternity. In the course of my long life I have seen so many modern ideas become unmodern, that I know I shall liveto chant a requiem over the modern ideas of this day, as I chanted it over the modern ideas of the last century. I celebrated the nineteen-hundredth anniversary of the death of my Redeemer and yet I am no older now than then, for my Spirit is Eternal, and the Eternal never ages. I am the abiding Personage of the centuries. I am the contemporary of all civilizations. I am never out of date, because the dateless; never out of time, because the timeless. I have four great marks: I am One, because I have the same Soul I had in the beginning; I am Holy, because that Soul is the Spirit of Holiness; I am Catholic, because that Spirit pervades every living cell of my Body; I am Apostolic, because my origin is identical with Nazareth, Galilee and Jerusalem. I shall grow weak when my members become rich and cease to pray, but I shall never die. I shall be persecuted as I am persecuted now in Mexico and Russia; I shall be crucified as I was on Calvary, but I shall rise again, and finally when time shall be no more, and I shall have grown to my full stature, then shall I be taken into heaven as the bride of my Head, Christ, where the celestial nuptials shall be celebrated, and God shall be all in all, because His Spirit is Love and Love is Heaven.”.
What exactly is NOT beautiful about worshiping our Lord at Mass?
Cardinal Nguyen Van Thuan turned a concentration camp into a cathedral, the palm of his hand into an altar, his pocket into a tabernacle and darkness into Light with the grace of our Lord.
See yourself at a Wedding. Is the food not to your liking? Are the Groomsmen not wearing what you would like? Is the music not in the right key for your ear? Is the Wedding not up to your expectations?
What do you suppose the Bride and Groom’s mind is on this day? Is it the wedding or the Marriage? If she messes up her words, it is His that have already held True and it doesn’t negate the validity of the Marriage. It’s happening, everyone is there, its the most beautiful thing in this world.
We are a sorry lot. We often complain about the wedding without taking the Marriage into account. What makes the Liturgy strikingly beautiful, is the reality that our Lord entered into and rose above all that “ugliness” of ours and we can too, because He tells us to follow Him.
“So Ahab sent to all the people of Israel, and gathered the prophets together at Mount Carmel. And Elijah came near to all the people, and said, ‘How long will you go limping with two different opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him’”
Glorify God in all that you do. In all places. At all times. He is with us always. Not just when we remember Him. Not just when we gather together, but always.
Blessed and beautiful feast to my Carmelite brothers and sisters!
Our Lady of Mount Carmel, pray for us.
Most loving Savior, Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on us.
Have you ever heard someone say, “If Jesus was here”, or have you said or thought this saying yourself? If we truly believe, we know He is here. He is with us always. It is our own lack of faith that tells us and others, when we say this, that He is not.
“I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the childlike.
Remember when you were a child. You were cared for and all the “worries” you may have today, back in childhood, were nonexistent. You went about life doing what a child would do. You just KNEW you were cared for. Such is the faith we have in our Lord when we know He is with us always.
When our Lord Ascended into Heaven, although He was gone, the Holy Spirit made known the reality of His continued presence. The Apostles did not preach saying “If Jesus was here right now”. No. They preached saying, The Kingdom of Heaven is here, our Lord Jesus Christ, is here STILL right now, repent and believe. As we still this day preach, because He truly is.
Our Lord is not a far away God. It is we who are far away in our knowing Him. We may know of Him, which keeps us distant from Him but He is not far from us at all, as He knows us. We must make the decision, as in all relationships, to know Him better. When we do this, we move closer to Him.
At the Wedding of Cana, our beautiful Mother Mary, intercedes for the Wedding Couple, when she says to our Lord, “They have no wine”. The guests, those who were there to be served, never knew. They continued on celebrating. Who knew the of the intercession? Who SEEN with their own eyes what took place? The servants who carried out the orders by our Lord. So too do we continue to see the work of our Lord, when we carry out the orders of our Lord and to see His hands at work in this world, is cause for joyful celebration that the “world” can not understand.
Today’s pondering is a focus on silence. On quiet. On listening and not speaking during prayer.
Do you find yourself aimlessly reciting prayers, without pondering what you are saying, because your mind is clouded with distractions? Be the distractions of what your plans are later, what is troubling you, what you had experienced at some other time or even trying to focus on the words themselves, so not to make a mistake while reciting them?
What one can try is very simple. Stop everything. Keep the focus on what you are doing right now. You are in prayer. Be in prayer. Place 100% into the prayer. Sit and be mindful. Turn off what your distraction is, and “turn on” what you are doing. Slow down what you are saying, so that each word perminates you. Allow the fragrance of the prayer to envelop your entire being. When we bend down to smell a flower, do we bend down without thinking of what we are doing, while thinking of all our troubles? No. We are captivated by the beauty of the flower, while taking in the lovely scent. Thus, we stop to smell the flowers. The same must be done with prayer.
In practicing this always, that same focus takes in the beauty of our Lord. He becomes our focus, while all else, falls away.
Keeping the Word no matter what. In today’s Gospel, we hear our Lord say: “one’s enemies will be those of his household” . Do you find yourself at odds with those closest to you because you truly practice the faith? You are not alone. The more we pray, the more we adhere to our Lord’s commands and the more we come to believe in our Lord, the more we grow in the faith, and die to the world, the more we become like sandpaper to those around us, who do not believe. Oh, they often say they believe in our Lord, but they often add that “BUT” to their answer when you ask if they do.
All the “buts” they can give us, are very telling. Its generally a fear of wanting to move closer to the cross of our Lord. Moving closer to the cross, seems to souls that they will have more suffering, more struggles, more storms, more heat and who want’s that? The reality is, we have these things anyway, even far away from the cross, but closer to His cross, we find we are able to bare them because we are with our Lord.
How do we not become “sandpaper” to those around us? Through accepting the fact that we are all on this journey. We do not shove a soul nor demand them to believe in our Lord. We allow them to decide for themselves while we are living the faith deeply. Yes, you will be hated because of His name and we know that this is not against us, but the soul who finds fault with our Lord, is reveling the faults of themselves. They will hate you anyway, because they do not accept Him.
What they need, as a little sprout, is more water, more heat, or more sun. Fear keeps them from moving, growing into Him. Why is it, that humans are the only creatures that try not to reach out for what we need most and reach for what we want instead? Our Lord knows what we need. It is always Him.
In my pondering of today’s novena and Gospel, we hear talk of “seeds”. We all start off in this life, each one of us, as as something considered insignificant to the world. Consider the seed, before it sprouts, it is just a seed. The seed changes drastically in its short span of being a seed when planted and becomes something much different.
Have you ever bumped into someone you have not seen for many years, and in speaking with them, all they seem to focus on is how you were back twenty or so years ago, without any care of what has taken place in the past twenty plus years? The spouse you have, the children and grandchildren that are now part of your life? As if the focus is constantly on the husk of the seed that was tossed aside, rather than the family tree that came forth from it.
Our spiritual life, begins the same way. As much as we focus on our temporal needs, food, housing, family, etc, we should spend that same time, focusing on our spiritual needs, so as to grow beautifully into who we were crated to be. Imagine if you will, how many today call for “Separation of Church and State”. Lets call the worldly part of your life, the State, and the spiritual part of your life, the Church. Although there truly is, only one life. How long do you think it would take, for your spiritual life to fall away and turn to dust, like the husk of a seed, if you were to separate the two? Very quickly. When this happens, there is no spiritual growth, and when that Friend (our Lord) from long ago (when you were Baptized) comes to you (moment of death) there is nothing to say, there isn’t any new fruit to give, because you have not grown.
“Grant, Lord, that I may listen attentively and remember constantly Your teaching, that I may put it into practice forcefully and courageously, despising riches and avoiding the worries of a worldly life… Grant me Your strength and that I may meditate on Your words putting down deep roots and purifying me of all worldly perils (St. John Chrysostom, A Commentary on the Gospel according to Matthew 44:3-4).“
Going deeper into the faith, takes commitment to doing what our Lord has commanded of us. What is the greatest commandment? To love. Love not as the world knows, but that of the love that our Lord has shown to us. Fearless love to carry out His will. Courageous love, to be truthful in all thing, in all places and in all circumstances.
Have you ever continued to sin, because you were afraid to speak out against a wrong being committed because you might upset someone? Or due to despair because you think your voice is not loud enough to change the situation? This is a situation in which you can change it by speaking out. You can assert your right to freedom from despair that our Lord has given to you. You can change that situation within you, thus by not allowing it to hold you back. Do not be afraid to be persecuted for the Truth, as our Lord is Truth. The first step to true freedom takes courage to not do the sinful things, that everyone else is doing. The first step to true freedom takes action on our part. We must be honest with ourselves. We must acknowledge we are fallen and need our Lord. Even if it doesn’t seem like much, it is great. It will bring persecution from those who do not believe in our Lord. It will bring suffering to us, but it is not in vain. No more is our suffering self inflicted, but instead, we suffer for the good of others. In this life, when we reflect on this suffering, we can see the good thief and the bad thief crucified with our Lord. We can suffer with our Lord, or suffer without Him.
To continue taking these steps, one needs to reflect constantly on what is right and just in our Lord, and do the good, turning away the bad. This life comes with responsibility. Coming to grips with our sins and changing our behaviors, attacks them head on. It’s not just taking into account what would Jesus do, but what does the Catholic Church believe and teach in this regard? If I find fault with this, why is that, as the Church is the authority. Do my thoughts and action mirror that of the teachings of the Church? Learning why the Church teaches what she does, brings to light what was hidden from our sight due to our own lack of “seeking”. In this way, we begin to get rid of the vices that have entered into each of us, which destroy our spiritual lives, turning us into dead wood on the Vine.
As I woke this morning and walked into our living room, I was greeted by one of our pet rats. She seen me coming and I greeted her with a warm “Good Morning”. She stood on her hind legs looking at me and it was adorable. This little creature of our Lord’s put a smile on my face. I seen her just as that. A creature of our Lord. Lesser no doubt than a human, as she is unable to reason as a human, but she brought me joy just the same. Was my greeting to her received as joy? No. Lesser creatures can not experience joy as we do as true Joy is a gift of our Lord. Joy is the gift that one retains even if it is not given in return. It’s the peace of our Lord, come to rest in the heart.
Have you ever greeted another human with joy, who does not know you, whom you have never met, in this way? Generally a smile is given in return. The gift of Joy when given to others, is no doubt the gift that keeps giving. Be it that it is given in return, or not.
As I contemplate today’s Novena, I can see the joy in the Wise Men, at finding our Lord. That gift of Joy they possessed without knowing at the time, which they tried to give to King Herod, who utterly despised it, returned to them, as they continued to seek our Lord where He was.
Today’s Gospel reading of Matthew 10:16-23, also a correlation to this gift of Joy, states: whoever endures to the end will be saved. This joy, is a finality of knowing our Lord. No matter what takes place, we know that our Lord is King. We know that our Lord sustains us. Our Lord gives us life giving water. We find ourselves swimming in His love. When we know this, all that we do, is for our Lord. One can not see that we are not swimming in this love, and simply we know where we are. Thus, in all that we encounter, we are in prayer. We know that our Lord’s love for us, prevails over all. The gift of joy, is our Lord Himself.
May we take this time we have been given today, to look deeply within our lives, and see where all our own dead parts are. What are dead parts, but that which sin has taken root, behaviors that cause us harm, unhealthy attitudes about others and ourselves, but especially actions that harm not only us, but all those around us.
Today’s Novena focuses on the red rose and “pruning”. I am brought to the Gospel of John.
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.
To remain in our Lord, is to love Him above all else. To continue daily to carry out His will and His commands. All that we love above our Lord, needs to be pruned or cut away, as it can not produce anything for our Lord. Again we hear in the Gospel of John:
1 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower.2 He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit, and every one that does he prunes so that it bears more fruit.
Today is day two of the novena to our Lady of Mount Carmel. In today’s reflection, we find that there are many flowers in the Garden of Carmel.
I am not one to assume my own flower, as I would rather that our Lord or Lady would designate that for me, and so, yesterday I had a soul contact me via direct message on social media, with an obvious scam. This person demanded that I send an email to their contact person, so I could claim my huge prize winnings. When this is done, the scammer obtains your entire contact list and attempts this scam on more souls.
I reported this person, as it was a scam that targets the deaf and hard of hearing. See here: Deceiving the Deaf
I shared their information with others, with a warning about this scam, so others would not be deceived. As I took it to prayer yesterday, I pondered the Venus Fly Trap. The Venus flytrap is a flowering plant best known for its carnivorous eating habits. It seems to get a bad rap as an aggressive little plant, but actually eats all the pests that danger others and protects the rest of the garden. It doesn’t chase after any of its meals but waits patiently for them to come to it. In reflecting on this little plant, I thought about this in regards to the spiritual life. The fly is an obvious symbol of sin and evil. When we repent, sin still comes to us, but it goes no further if we do not act upon it. Rather, we, like the little fly trap, consume it, stop it from going any further, and keep on doing the will of God.
During this Novena to our Lady of Mount Carmel, I pray we all stop the evil that comes to us daily, cloaked in the allurement of worldly pleasures, seeing them for what they are, hearing the call of our Lord and stop them dead in their tracks, giving the glory to our Lord.
For the entire Day Two reflection and prayer, please click HERE
I recently deleted my twitter account, and in the next few weeks, will be deleting my Facebook page. You see, I have been sitting on social media for many years now, not just blogging here, but starting all the way back in 06, blogging for someone else. I have begun to feel like a parrot lately. I can go back all through the years, and recite the same things, over an over again. I don’t even have to write them anymore, as my comments on most everything have already been logged here.
Politics never changes. Its always political. Faith, our faith, in how we grow in it, changes us all the time, while our Lord, never changes. What more can I say all day long on social media, that I haven’t already said? Not much. What I can do, is put it more into practice in the ways I have been unable to in the past. Within my own “home”. Holy Abandonment is beautiful. It allows the soul to rest in our Lord, knowing that no matter what may come, may our Lord’s Will be done. My own “home” is what our Lord has entrusted me with.
So my days and time on social media platforms may not be a prevalent as past years, but my putting this faith into actions, I have been given, will be used where it is needed. In my home, in formation with my Carmalite community and in my parish.
Imagine my surprise today, to find this beautiful reflection in my morning prayer, in iBreviary. The words, echo my thoughts as I have contemplated this decision to leave. Our Lord is the Divine Master of all. What peace He has given to souls who seek Him.
From the book Way of Perfection by Saint Teresa of Avila, virgin (Obras de la gloriosa madre Sta Teresa de Jesus, Tomo 1, Madrid, 1752: 30:1-4 pp. 526-528)
Your kingdom come
“When asking a favor of some person of importance would anyone be so ill-mannered and thoughtless as not first to consider how best to address him in order to make a good impression and give him no cause for offense? Surely he would think over his petition carefully and his reason for making it, especially if it were for something specific and important as our good Jesus tells us our petitions should be. It seems to me that this point deserves serious attention. My Lord, could you not have included all in one word by saying “Father, give us whatever is good for us?” After all, to one who understands everything so perfectly, what need is there to say more?
O Eternal Wisdom, between you and your Father that was enough; that was how you prayed in the garden. You expressed your desire and fear but surrendered yourself to his will. But as for us, my Lord, you know that we are less submissive to the will of your Father and need to mention each thing separately in order to stop and think whether it would be good for us, and otherwise not ask for it. You see, the gift our Lord intends for us may be by far the best, but if it is not what we wanted we are quite capable of flinging it back in his face. That is the kind of people we are; ready cash is the only wealth we understand.
Therefore, the good Jesus bids us repeat these words, this prayer for his kingdom to come in us: Hallowed be your name, your kingdom come. See how wise our Master is! But what do we mean when we pray for this kingdom? That is what I am going to consider now, for it is important that we should understand it. Our good Jesus placed these two petitions side by side because he realized that in our inadequacy we could never fittingly hallow, praise, exalt or glorify this holy name of the eternal Father unless he enabled us to do so by giving us his kingdom here on earth. But since we must know what we are asking for and how important it is to pray for it without ceasing and to do everything in our power to please him who is to give it to us, I should now like to give you my own thoughts on the matter.
Of the many joys that are found in the kingdom of heaven, the greatest seems to me to be the sense of tranquility and well-being that we shall experience when we are free from all concern for earthly things. Glad because others are glad and for ever at peace, we shall have the deep satisfaction of seeing that by all creatures the Lord is honored and praised, and his name blessed. No one ever offends him, for there everyone loves him. Loving him is the soul’s one concern. Indeed it cannot help but love him, for it knows him. Here below our love must necessarily fall short of that perfection and constancy, but even so how different it would be, how much more like that of heaven, if we really knew our Lord!”
Edit to add: 7/03/2020 2:00 PM
I have now, reactivated my twitter account as of today, as I received an email from the Coordinator of Lay Carmelites, Province of the Most Pure Heart of Mary, inquiring if I would take the position of Regional Formation Coordinator for the San Diego region. After much consideration, and truly, this being the feast of St. Thomas the Apostle, this is something I have been pondering for quite a while. Where, Lord, did You need me? That I may give You my all. What, Lord, are You asking of me? That I may give You to all. Social media, for me, had become a very loud place as I was trying to find that inner silence again. Sometimes, we get drawn into the chaos of the world, and our Lord truly is the only exit. I was unsure as to the answers of these questions and to be frank, that email from the Coordinator sat in my inbox for two days, without me even seeing it.
I have answered with a resounding yes to the coordinator and to our Lord. This latest encounter with our Lord, has definitely found me proclaiming, “My Lord and my God.”
With this yes, comes the challenge to keep my focus on our Lord, and Carmel. Looking into the deleting of some platforms, I have found myself turning them back on, as there are many souls who do seek our Lord, and in those platforms, a channel to Him has been established.
prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against a person or people on the basis of their membership of a particular racial or ethnic group, typically one that is a minority or marginalized.
I can’t tell you how sick it makes me to hear, whites never encounter racism but perpetrate it. It runs in every culture. Just because someone may not have the same experience as someone else, does not make it not racism. Or what some had once called “reverse racism”. There is no such thing. There is only racism. What I am about to say is the reality of racism.
My family was forced to leave our former parish and school, because my daughter was bullied, bad, for not speaking Spanish. Keep in mind this was a few years ago. We didn’t learn of the bulling until she had entered into the third grade. We were astonished to learn it had been taking place when she began school, in kindergarten. We were told it was no big deal. It was a big deal. My daughter was picked on constantly, had her lunch stolen daily and was ridiculed without any care for her feelings. She began to struggle in school and was having a hard time concentrating and we were told, it was no big deal. So racism against white children, was no big deal according to the administrators. We were one of two ONLY white family’s in that particular school. When the decision was made to place our children there, I knew it was mostly Hispanic but it didn’t matter to me, it was Catholic.
We left a week later, and entered into a new parish and placed our children into the new school. STILL the minority among a majority of a mix of Chaldean’s and Spanish. Also Catholic. We have never been more happy in this new place. The child who was bulled at the other school, graduated two years ago with many friends and a joyful school experience she will never forget.
Life is hard! Humility is needed among ALL of us, no matter what color our skin may be and believe you me, HUMILITY toughens the skin no matter what color it is, to forget the hate and love anyway. I forgive them. I pray for them. When someone says that I need to walk in their shoes, I have. But it doesn’t matter to most, because what is said in return by most is that I’m white, which is a statement that is actually the heart of racism in itself.
As Catholics, we are called to be of One Body. Skin tone doesn’t matter. Hair color doesn’t matter. Skin deep faith is not our faith. Our faith cuts deep in the heart where racism is not present and only Love exists.
From a sermon by Saint Augustine, bishop (Sermo 47, 12-14, De ovibus: CCL 41, 582-584)
“If I wanted to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ
This is our glory: the witness of our conscience. There are men who rashly judge, who slander, whisper and murmur, who are eager to suspect what they do not see, and eager to spread abroad things they have not even a suspicion of. Against men of this sort, what defense is there save the witness of our own conscience?
My brothers, we do not seek, nor should we seek, our own glory even among those whose approval we desire. What we should seek is their salvation, so that if we walk as we should they will not go astray in following us. They should imitate us if we are imitators of Christ; and if we are not, they should still imitate him. He cares for his flock, and he alone is to be found with those who care for their flocks, because they are all in him.
And so we seek no advantage for ourselves when we aim to please men. We want to take our joy in men—and we rejoice when they take pleasure in what is good, not because this exalts us, but because it benefits them.
It is clear who is intended by the apostle Paul: If I wanted to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ. And similarly when he says: Be pleasing to all men in all things, even as I in all things please all men. Yet his words are as clear as water, limpid, undisturbed, unclouded. And so you should, as sheep, feed on and drink of his message; do not trample on it or stir it up.
You have listened to our Lord Jesus Christ as he taught his apostles: Let your actions shine before men so that they may see you good deeds, and give glory to your Father who is in heaven, for it is the Father who made you thus. We are the people of his pasture, the sheep of his hands. If then you are good, praise is due to him who made you so; it is no credit to you, for if you were left to yourself, you could only be wicked. Why then do you try to pervert the truth, in wishing to be praised when you do good, and blaming God when you do evil? For though he said: Let your works shine before men, in the same Sermon on the Mount he also said: Do not parade your good deeds before men. So if you think there are contradictions in Saint Paul, you will find the same in the Gospels; but if you refrain from troubling the waters of your heart, you will recognize here the peace of the Scriptures and with it you will have peace.
And so, my brothers, our concern should be not only to live as we ought, but also to do so in the sight of men; not only to have a good conscience but also, so far as we can in our weakness, so far as we can govern our frailty, to do nothing which might lead our weak brother into thinking evil of us. Otherwise, as we feed on the good pasture and drink the pure water, we may trample on God’s meadow, and weaker sheep will have to feed on trampled grass and drink from troubled waters.”
As Deitrich Bonhoeffer reminds us, when Christ calls us he bids us die, to ourselves and to the world, and still at rarer times, in true martyrdom of the body for the sake of the Faith.
Some Christians will be crucified spiritually, others, as in the middle-east of our days, quite literally upon a Cross of Spiritual Battles or upon the wood of a roughly hewn beam under the watch of our old enemies, certain followers of a man who set us in opposition 1,400 years ago.
The Way, the Way of a Christian is along the Via Dolorosa towards the Cross.
The Gospel isn’t merely a set of books, as meritorious as their spiritual guidance is, but a profound sacrifice of ourselves through the grace gifted to us by the Persons of Love, as expressed through the Paraclete, the Comforter, who resides in an especially intimate way in the hearts of those called forth to the Altar worthily. The Word of God is dynamic, is alive, brings forth existence itself, is Scripture, Christ, His Church and all who follow the will of the Father. The Word of God is Love, and Love is a Person who invites us to His Presence. The Universe itself owes its existence to this effulgence of Love which could not help but call us forth to participate in this Love – And this is why Christ is King. This gift of the virtue of courage in martyrdom to ourselves and the world for love of God and neighbor for the Advancement of the Kingdom of True Love ( Agape ) is the Gospel, and that we can participate in it through the power of the Comforter is the Good News. That we have been overcome by grace and have become chalices overflowing with grace to bring new life into the world against the Cultures of Death and Darkness, which do not reside in the Truth since Truth is the Person of Love in the Most Holy and Blessed Trinity. The gaze of Love between the Father and the Son, eternally.
FROM TODAY’S OFFICE OF READINGS IN THE LITURGY OF THE HOURS:
From a homily by Pope Paul VI-
“Not to preach the Gospel would be my undoing, for Christ himself sent me as his apostle and witness. The more remote, the more difficult the assignment, the more my love of God spurs me on. I am bound to proclaim that Jesus is Christ, the Son of the living God. Because of him we come to know the God we cannot see. He is the firstborn of all creation; in him all things find their being. Man’s teacher and redeemer, he was born for us, died for us, and for us he rose from the dead.
All things, all history converges in Christ. A man of sorrow and hope, he knows us and loves us. As our friend he stays by us throughout our lives; at the end of time he will come to be our judge; but we also know that he will be the complete fulfilment of our lives and our great happiness for all eternity.
I can never cease to speak of Christ for he is our truth and our light; he is the way, the truth and the life. He is our bread, our source of living water who allays our hunger and satisfies our thirst. He is our shepherd, our leader, our ideal, our comforter and our brother.
He is like us but more perfectly human, simple, poor, humble, and yet, while burdened with work, he is more patient. He spoke on our behalf; he worked miracles; and he founded a new kingdom: in it the poor are happy; peace is the foundation of a life in common; where the pure of heart and those who mourn are uplifted and comforted; the hungry find justice; sinners are forgiven; and all discover that they are brothers.
The image I present to you is the image of Jesus Christ. As Christians you share his name; he has already made most of you his own. So once again I repeat his name to you Christians and I proclaim to all men: Jesus Christ is the beginning and the end, the alpha and the omega, Lord of the new universe, the great hidden key to human history and the part we play in it. He is the mediator – the bridge, if you will – between heaven and earth. Above all he is the Son of man, more perfect than any man, being also the Son of God, eternal and infinite. He is the son of Mary his mother on earth, more blessed than any woman. She is also our mother in the spiritual communion of the mystical body.
Remember: it is Jesus Christ I preach day in and day out. His name I would see echo and re-echo for all time even to the ends of the earth.”