My birthday is December 7th, the feast of St. Ambrose. On some social media sites, they have an app to have money donated for a specific cause that one has. Well, I have one, but it’s up to you to do it. I will leave this here until that day. Remember, we are entering into the Season of Advent. Be the Light.
For my birthday this year, I am asking that everyone donate what you can to your Catholic Parish, to be honest with everyone in your life, to see the good in others and when the bad is seen, that you see it within yourself first, knowing that our Lord can heal it if you ask Him, because He healed it in you and place yourself last. I pray it brings you face to Face with our Lord and you recognize Him.
As we enter into this very celebrated weekend, I would like to point out three very important things that take place.
Halloween – All Hallows’ Eve – The most beautiful All Hallows’ Eve I have ever participated in, was a few years ago, in Old Town San Diego. Friends of mine held a Requiem Mass for everyone who had died that year. Not just in the parish in which this Mass was celebrated, but through the entire world. All who were unknown to us, were offered Holy Mass. This took place at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Old Town San Diego. It was in Old Town, San Diego, that Saint Junípero Serra celebrated his First Holy Mass in California on July 2, 1769, near the site of the present Immaculate Conception Church. At the same time we were celebrating Mass, Day of the Dead, or Dia de los Muertos preparations were being made just outside of the Church, in streets outside. At the very moment the moment of Consecration, we rang the church bells, which echoed through the town. When Mass ended, we had a candlelight procession through the streets, singing the hymn Dies Irae, and praying for the dead, as we walked to the Old Adobe Chapel on Conde Street and then to Old Town Cemetery to bless the graves. All the people who were celebrating Day of the Dead early, stopped what they were doing, as we passed them in prayer. This is what Halloween is. All Hallows’ Eve, “a day when Catholics celebrate the triumph of the Church in heaven, and the lives of the saints on earth”. Catholic Answers has a beautiful reflection in regards to the day, “Putting the ‘Hallows’ Back in Halloween“
2. All Saints Day – All Hallows’ Day – See how it all goes together? Just as Christmas Eve is celebrated in anticipation of Christmas, so to is All Hallows’ Eve celebrated in anticipation of All Saints Day, or All Hallows’ Day. This is the day we commemorate all the Saints in Heaven, known and unknown, who strove to enter through the narrow gate and win the crown of Victory in Christ. Please read: What’s the Point of All Saints Day?
Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen
So you see, this is a very special weekend, in which we place our thought’s and prayers, in the direction of the souls in most need, who’s earthy life has already ended and eternal life has officially begun. It’s a reminder that we too, shall die.
Memento mori is a Latin phrase meaning ‘remember you must die’. All of us need to remember that our time here in exile, this life, is not long but forever is eternity. How we spend eternity depends on how we have lived here. It is wise to prepare for this moment through repentance and heeding the words of our Lord: “Strive to enter through the narrow gate , for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter but will not be strong enough.” Luke 13:24
O Lord, our God, we know it is You who are the Just Judge at the moment of our death and it is You, whom we should fear. You have said that not a sparrow falls to the ground without our Father’s knowing. You, Lord Jesus Christ, know all things, and Your mercy is endless. Have mercy on the souls today, who seek to enter into Your Kingdome. Grant them eternal rest in You. Grant their family’s the comfort of Your peace through Your most Holy Spirit and wipe away the tears we shed for those whom we have lost and You have gained, for the glory of God our Father.
Son of Justice, convert the hearts of those who plan and carryout attacks on Your children, that they may come to acknowledge You are Lord and God of all. For this is justice, that they should not perish, but come to know, love and serve You, most Holy Trinity and proclaim Your mercy forever and to our Father, be the praise, glory and honor. Amen
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come; thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
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