Category Archives: Reflections

Day Of Mourning #HagiaSophia

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.

Please see HERE

How to pray the ROSARY can be found HERE

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Beautiful Liturgy

Something to ponder….

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.

“Blessed are those who have been called to the wedding feast of the Lamb.” 

It is a blessing just to be there. We should be grateful simply for that.

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Our Lady Of Mount Carmel Feast!

“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.

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Our Lady Of Mount Carmel Novena – Day 9

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.

In today’s Gospel we hear our Lord’s proclamation:

“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.

Please go to today’s Novena HERE

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Our Lady Of Mount Carmel Novena – Day 8

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.

Please see today’s Novena HERE

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Our Lady Of Mount Carmel Novena – Day 7

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.

On to today’s Novena HERE

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Our Lady Of Mount Carmel Novena – Day 6

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).

Please go to today’s Novena HERE

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Our Lady Of Mount Carmel Novena – Day 5

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.

In today’s Gospel, we find our Lord telling us: If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more those of his household!Therefore do not be afraid of them.

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.

Please go to today’s Novena here

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Our Lady Of Mount Carmel Novena – Day 4

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.

For today’s Novena see HERE

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Our Lady Of Mount Carmel Novena – Day 3

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.

On to today’s reflection:

Day 3 – Novena for Our Lady of Mt Carmel by Fr. Gregory Houck

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Our Lady Of Mount Carmel Novena Day 2

Dionaea muscipula

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

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Our Lady of Mount Carmel Novena – Day 1

Novena to Our Lady of Mount Carmel

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Meditation After Divine Office

Via Pedro Marrero –

A Meditation after praying the Divine Office:

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.”

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Father’s Day

‘The Lord’s Prayer ‘is truly the summary of the whole gospel.’ ‘Since the Lord… after handling over the practice of prayer, said elsewhere, ‘Ask and you will receive, ‘ and since everyone has petitions which are peculiar to his circumstances, the regular and appropriate prayer (the Lord’s Prayer) is said first, as the foundation of further desires.’


Catechism of the Catholic Church; 2761.

“Run through all the words of the holy prayers [in Scripture], and I do not think that you will find anything in them that is not contained and included in the Lord’s Prayer” – St. Augustine

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. Amen.

Blessed Father’s Day

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Censoring The Past

The other day, I read a story about how Minnesota schools would be banning books over racial slurs. I was brought back to how many times this “book burning” idea, was pinned on bible pushing conservatives. Remember when they said that Conservative Bible pushers were going to ban everything? Not so today. It seems the pendulum has swung and the reality of who is behind this is clear. It’s communism. Before communism takes over, it sends “peasants” in to do the dirty work of destruction. Then, it comes riding in on the “white horse” looking like the good guy, hiding the reality that it sent the peasants in to do the dirty work in the first place, so to take over.

In speaking with a friend about this, I felt I must share her words:

“Trying to censor and silence the past? It is a very ignorant and failed attempt at time travel by unserious willfully ignorant hackers of history. These literary pieces are key holes into the culture of that era in our history. They’re supposed to make you feel uncomfortable and angry. This country has spent generations transforming itself from this era. It is not where we are now. But we must look back on it to understand the human condition, man’s inhumanity to man, and yes racism. And we must also be able to see the failures in order to fully understand and appreciate our accomplishments.

However, the powers that be inside this Marxist based and driven movement cannot allow us to look into that keyhole for fuller context of where we were and where we are because it diminishes their fake premise and false narrative that we are still in that ear when we are NOT. So, our literature must be censored, banned and even destroyed.

It’s what every fascist And communist does. Destroys history and obliterates full context. Imagine our Bible’s history beginning with the Adam and Eve chapters and then going directly to the News Testament. Jesus Christ and His meaning would seem aimless and unnecessary, right? Adam and Eve were evicted from the Garden and thrust into an existence of hardships and not only their own sins but the massive collateral damage the sins of others inflicts. To go from one ‘garden’ and end up in another ‘garden’ with the Son of God on His knees in tears and pleading with His Father has little to absolutely no context of what and how humanity was brought to that moment in the universal history.

By the way, it is those chapters of the Bible that those who insist that book is the most violent book ever written refer to. Understand the total loss of meaning in the context of the whole journey, bad and good, if chapters of history are removed. Imagine the power that those who would do these sort of censorship moves have over the rest of us and our future generations.

We’re seeing it now with the asinine kowtowing to the neo-fascists in all the kneeling and apologizing for centuries old sins we didn’t commit, and those who did have long since answered for when their own call to judgment arrived. To kneel and set yourself on fire with baseless apologies for something you’ve not done is to aid and abet in somebody else’s bearing false witness, in my opinion.

Imagine an amnesia patient with nobody around who knows him/her to remind him where he had been in life and what the world was like in his life and environment. That would give complete power of suggestion and “re-education” to those directly influencing him now to mold him into the person they believe is best suited for him. The left cannot control us without imposing cultural amnesia on us, and then guilting, intimidating, punishing us for a past we didn’t have a hand in, but they insist we’re responsible for. Yet, they insist of burning that past as some sort of retribution, creating a paradox for the world they are determined the rest of us live in under their thumb. If you destroy things like cultural era books and movies and caricatures, then you have also removed that evidence that it even existed/happened. This is Marxism and communism, enforced by fascism. This is Orwellian.”

More to come soon – This post will be updated. Please see HERE

Update: Can Catholics support ‘Black Lives Matter’?

I ask you to read Black Lives Matter – What We Believe, and then please, read below, ponder how this is not another communist political agenda.

Please read: DIVINI REDEMPTORIS – ENCYCLICAL OF POPE PIUS XI
ON ATHEISTIC COMMUNISM

Today –

Sacred Heart of Jesus, I love you. Come to our aid, convert the hearts of souls at odds with You that they may come to love You too.

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Everlasting Joy

Nothing can change what our Lord has already done. It is we who change and realign to Him. His mercy endues forever.

When our thought begin to imagine that we somehow presume to know more than we do, illusions kick in, and torment takes over, where peace once was. This is a trigger point, to keep in reference when we begin to fall back out of union with our Lord. What do I know? Is a question we should ask ourselves often. What I know, is that our Lord has promised to be with us until the end of the age. What I know, is that He doesn’t say what He doesn’t mean. Can I trust this? With my entire heart. This is not a time to rest in presumption of knowing our Lord. It is a time to delve deep into Him, spend time with Him, talk to Him, and learn to trust Him.

No matter what may come, our Lord is with us. He is with us when we freely choose to not follow Him. He is with us when we freely choose to follow Him. When we come face to face with ourselves, when we see we are no better or worse than anyone else, is when we can see the sins of all, right in the mirror as we look at ourselves. What then, shall we do at this moment? We offer to help our neighbor, not by condemning them in their sin, as our sin is no better, rather we accompany them as a friend, through their struggle with it, and try to help them to overcome it, as we have, through Christ. We do not justify the sin by continuing in it, rather, we give glory to our Lord, by acknowledging it, repenting from it, accepting our Lord forgiveness for it, and overcoming it. Never committing it again.

If since our Lord is with us, how can I justify fear of the terrible things that may come when I have ignored His call? I can not. What can be more terrible than the justice of God? Nothing. The wages of sin, is death. What can be more frightening than the justice of God? Nothing. Again, the wages of sin, is death. Notice, our Lord does not say which sins, but sin in general. Have I sinned? I know that I have. I am a sinner. Without the mercy of our Lord, the wages of my sins, have been laid out in front of me. Death.

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” – If then I have received this gift from our Lord, what does this mean? I know that this gift did not come without a price. That price was the life of the One who loves with an eternal and everlasting love. The One who, as I said in the start of this post, He doesn’t say what He doesn’t mean.

This coming Sunday for some, today, we celebrate Christ’s Ascension. The Catechism states:

IN BRIEF

665 Christ’s Ascension marks the definitive entrance of Jesus’ humanity into God’s heavenly domain, whence he will come again (cf. Acts 1:11); this humanity in the meantime hides him from the eyes of men (cf. Col 3:3).

666 Jesus Christ, the head of the Church, precedes us into the Father’s glorious kingdom so that we, the members of his Body, may live in the hope of one day being with him for ever.

667 Jesus Christ, having entered the sanctuary of heaven once and for all, intercedes constantly for us as the mediator who assures us of the permanent outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

If we can not see Him, how can we then believe this? One does not need to see Him in the flesh, in order to believe. One must, however, see Him in the heart, through conviction of the Holy Spirit. That is when the fire within rages for Truth. What is Truth? “Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” When the fire for Truth is ignited, one can only desire Truth. Truth about ones self. Truth about the world. Truth about sin. Truth about eternal life. In this way, we live Truth. When we freely choose to live Truthfully, there is everlasting joy which no one can ever take away. Which no one can touch. Because He is Truth itself.

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May Crowning

1fb77-may-crowning

There is talk today, of the nation opening back up, on May 1st. May is the month of Mary and just when this virus took hold of us, I was pondering how long this may last. Mama Mary came to my heart in the way of May Crowning. Corona means crown.  I pray this is truly a breakthrough for everyone, to opening the Church again, with the faithful able to receive our Lord again. Queen of Heaven and Earth, pray for us.

O most beautiful flower of Mount Carmel, fruitful vine, splendor of Heaven, Blessed Mother of the Son of God, Immaculate Virgin, assist me in my necessity. O Star of the Sea, help me herein and show me here you are my Mother.

St. Joseph, pray for us.

Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us all

 

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Easter 2020

 

Make this go viral

 

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He IS Risen

tomb11

The tomb is empty. He is not here. Nor should you be..

Red heart

LIVE as He has and does still today.

Blessed Easter to all.

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The Easter Lamb Cake

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Every year, since our Lord blessed me with a family, I have been making an Easter Lamb Cake. The task usually begins on Good Friday, after Veneration of the Cross. This year, with the pandemic, and not being able to attend physically, was no different. I had watched some very moving services being live streamed all over the internet and when it was finished, I began the task of preparing for my family’s Easter.

The Lamb Cake tradition began in when I was very little, as my mom would always purchase one for us. It was always on the table for after Easter dessert. In the Midwest where I am originally from, they were always present during Holy Week in the grocery stores. You couldn’t walk into one without seeing a beautiful Easter display of them, surrounded by Easter Lilly’s. No so here in California.

When my children were very little, about four and five years old, I didn’t want them to miss out on what I always looked forward to seeing when I was young. My husband purchased a lamb cake baking mold for me, and the tradition began. Over the years, it became a way to do something special for us, to bond in a way only we could understand. While our Lord was placed in the tomb on Good Friday, and silence filled the earth, we began to mix the “spices” of joy and life by making something to celebrate our Lord’s resurrection for us as a family.

Good Friday night, I mix the cake batter and pour it into the mold. Placing it into the oven, as our Lord was placed into the tomb, and made His descent into hell. Its a means of contemplation for me as I make the cake. What was once batter, comes out as something completely different. Its quite funny really, when the bake time is actually 33 minutes,  and that being the age of our Lord at the time of His Crucifixion.

When the cake is complete, it USUALLY breaks free of the mold, and emerges as the Victorious Lamb. This year, it did not. For some reason, the cake stuck in the mold, and I had to pry it out. It broke into several pieces, which upon looking at it, made me realize, I had to make another. Don’t assume it went to waste, as it would have been used to pick on for a snack after Good Friday was over. So, back to the mixing and pouring and baking. Pulling it out of the oven again, I remove it from the mold, and it sticks again. Breaking into pieces.

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As I contemplated all these pieces, my first thought was to build a Franken Lamb Cake, using all the pieces I had to build one complete Lamb Cake. As I prayed, the story changed and the darkness of that story, was overcome by the Light. The two very broken lamb cakes, were to become one. The Marriage of the Lamb!

This morning, Holy Saturday, the task began to assemble the pieces together. As my children were still sleeping, with the rest of the world, I assembled the pieces, my contemplation of our Lord gathering all the souls together, liberating them from the bondage of darkness and bringing them all into Him.

I stood the cake upright, and the face fell off. So I picked up the intact head of the other and placed it firmly onto the body. Christ is the head of the body! Although the cake appeared to be very broken, it was in fact read to dress. Our Lord takes all our brokenness and fixes it in the most BEAUTIFUL and JOYFUL way, His. What we see in ourselves, and in others, our Lord sees much differently. Although we can not be there with Him, He is with us always.

Finished

The dressing of the wounded cake was complete, and my children were left in awe, after thinking there would be no lamb this year on our table. Much in the way they did when He was placed in the tomb.  Much in the way that we as Catholics assume that our Lord would not be, with us this year, due to the pandemic.

“And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.”

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The message is the same every year. Do not be afraid. Jesus Christ is LORD!

Much love to you all this Easter and for all time to come. He is RISEN INDEED!

 

 

 

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Holy Saturday 2020

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Like the bud of the Lilly, waiting for the command to open and reveal its true beauty, so to, is our Lord’s glory, waiting to burst fourth from the tomb to reveal His love for us.  To return from the dead and forgive us for putting Him to death.

Holy Saturday,  in silence.

Pondering: ” And the LORD said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?” 

“I confess to Almighty God…”, I falsely accused Him, I cursed at Him, I scourged Him, I placed a crown of thorns on His precious head. I mocked Him, I sided with the wicked and not Him. I shouted for Him to be crucified. I had Him put to death. I did not love Him as He loved me. In my neighbor, with my rock hard heart of stone   – Through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault” God our Father

“Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and the sprinkled blood that speaks more eloquently than that of Abel’

His agony is over and His pain is now gone, all that remains is us, to think about what we have done and to repent of our disobedience and to pray.

Hosea 5:15b-16:2

Thus says the Lord,
In their affliction, they shall look for me:
   “Come, let us return to the Lord,
For it is he who has rent, but he will heal us;
   he has struck us, but he will bind our wounds.
He will revive us after two days;
   on the third day he will raise us up,
   to live in his presence.”

Hebrews Chapter 12

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Good Friday 2020

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At every moment we carry in our bodies the death of Jesus so that in our bodies the life of Jesus may also be manifested (2 Corinthians 4:10).

If you find yourself pondering our Lord crucifixion today, and I pray you do, I hope you can focus on the moment our Lord was placed in front of the crowd, scourged, beaten and mocked. His flesh torn to pieces, the crown of thrones piercing His precious head.  His face mangled and unrecognizable.

“Look, I am bringing him out to you, so that you may know that I find no guilt in him.” So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple cloak. And he said to them, “Behold, the man!”

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Is this what is done to a man with no guilt by the world who assumes to judge rightly? Daily.  Why? If we are followers of Christ, can we say, that by doing this to our neighbor, we do it because we love them and because we forgive them, as our Lord has forgiven us?

When the good thief, crucified with our Lord, said, we deserve this, but He (our Lord) did nothing wrong, think of this in regards to how you, yourself do deserve this, as do I, because we are sinners, along with, just because we deserve this, doesn’t make it right and just to do it, as it has already been done, and continues to be done, daily,  to the Man with no guilt, by us, without love, without mercy and without forgiving, to our neighbor.

“You did it to me”.

Its a good day to end practice. Pope Francis reminds us today, that the outstretched arms of our Lord are always there to welcome you, every time you stray from Him. I pray many do. I hope everyone does.

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Today begins the Divine Mercy Novena. Day 1, starting at 3:00 PM. I hope many take advantage of this wonderful novena and open your hearts to His mercy.:

EDIT TO ADD:

Please watch, a beautiful video just posted by Fr. Mitch Pacwa on this Good Friday – The 6 Mockings of Christ. Beyond the physical and spiritual suffering that Christ endured for our salvation, He also experienced relentless bullying and abandonment. In this video, Father Mitch goes through a lesser discussed aspect of the Passion, tying it back to our modern day problems and how each one of us can learn to love more greatly, endure with patience, and become ever closer to Christ on this holy Good Friday, 2020.

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Triduum Sacrum

King

This will be the first time, since my conversion back home, that I will miss attending the Easter Triduum.

I can pour out my feelings here about missing it, but it wouldn’t change anything. I can only accept what is. What I can do, is REMEMBER all the times I was able to attend, and be grateful to have been there. To remember how our Lord touched my heart and help me come to realize how much my sins hurt Him, but more so, how much He had forgiven me.  To remember the first time I had ever attended, and cried for all the times I had missed attending because I had so many other things that were, at the time, better to do. How foolish I was. When it became clear to me, everything had come to these three days, every day became a priority, to be with our Lord.

I remember Lord. I remember it all. I also remember the last Holy Mass I was in attendance. I remember how prolific the grace was, to see for myself, the Last Supper.

This day, as I can not be there, I will pray for all our Lord Priests. I will pray for all our Lords Deacons. I will pray for all our Lords Seminarians. I will pray for vocations to the Priesthood.

Lord, through Your most Holy Spirit, inflame the hearts of your friends with Your Divine Love. Touch their hearts as you have touched mine, that they may come to love you deeply above all else, in all souls and never be afraid to love as You have loved us. Give them Your Divine Courage to carry their crosses with You and to never leave You. Give them Your Divine Mercy, that they may be merciful as You have been merciful with us. I ask this through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, to Your most Sacred Heart and may the glory be always our Father in heaven, for all time and all eternity.  Amen

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Taken from USCCB:

Gracious and loving God, we thank your for the gift of our priests.
Through them, we experience your presence in the sacraments.

Help our priests to be strong in their vocation.
Set their souls on fire with love for your people.

Grant them the wisdom, understanding, and strength they need to follow in the footsteps of Jesus.
Inspire them with the vision of your Kingdom.

Give them the words they need to spread the Gospel.
Allow them to experience joy in their ministry.

Help them to become instruments of your divine grace.

We ask this through Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns as our Eternal Priest.

Amen.

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Cardinal Pell’s Freedom

God

“If the world hates you, realize that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, the world would love its own; but because you do not belong to the world, and I have chosen you out of the world, the world hates you.” John 15:18-27

The “world” is still in the business of creating “scapegoats” and Cardinal Pell was to be another one, in the many it makes of souls. I am grateful to our Lord for his release. This is Holy Week. For Cardinal Pell’s freedom to come today, is a joyful celebration. You see, our Lord already paid the price for the sins of others, along with our own.

Imagine being saddled with every sin committed, by every soul, in all of time. When one thinks about this, in regards to their own sins, we can come to see the injustice that our Lord already carried to the Cross. He without sin, became sin itself. I can not atone for the sins of my children, my husband, my neighbor nor anyone. I can only atone for my own. What I can do, is offer up my suffering for their conversion and pray that they too, say YES to our Lord, and no to the sins they love more than our Lord.

When anyone else, besides our Lord, is saddled with the sins of his neighbor, justice is not achieved. All that comes about is more blame on the entire group, the entire Church, and the entirety of our faith. The Church can not be held guilty of the sins of its members. As the sins of its members do not speak on behalf of the Church. The true repentance of these sins,  the mercy and grace of our Lord, is what speaks by the individual souls actions, to say YES to our Lord, and no to the thirty pieces of silver they were offered in exchange for forgiveness.

When the “world” scapegoats a person such as Cardinal Pell,  falsely accuses him, falsely convicts him and places him in jail, for the sins of others, it is the epitome of injustice.  As Archbishop Fisher said: “But justice for victims is never served by the wrongful conviction and imprisonment of anyone. I hope and pray that the finality of the legal processes will bring some closure and healing to all affected.”

Who has already taken these horrific sins to the Cross? Our Lord has. Many have freely chosen His forgiveness and repented. Many have not and opted for the “thirty pieces of silver” instead. Also, many can not tell the difference between the two, as they have not grasped the severity of their own sins first. Which is what it takes to see the difference between the two. Many still refuse to forgive as our Lord has forgiven. And many still, feel the need to take on the sins of everyone who refuses to atone for their own sins, therefore taking on the guilt of NON-repenting sinners, and paint the Bride of Christ with darkness. Snap out of it! You already know that forgiveness from our Lord waits patiently for everyone. It takes a turning away from the false love they hold on to, and a turning to the First Love of their souls. I ask souls to ponder deeply, what became of Judas “Ministry.” The disciples chose a replacement for Judas. St. Matthias, literally “gift of Yahweh”. They did not wallow in the sins of Judas, but relished the Glory of our Lord. As do all repentant souls.

What then, becomes of the TRUE victims of such a crime? The JUSTICE of our Lord. “Not as the world gives you. “

Cardinal Pell said, “I hold no ill will towards my accuser”. And thinking of others who may feel “hurt and bitterness”, he said that he does not want his acquittal to add any additional pain. The basis for “long term healing”, he continued, “is truth and the only basis for justice is truth, because justice means truth for all”.

 

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A Little Visit – Holy Week

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Just before dinner this evening, my daughter pointed outside and said we have a visitor Mom! We sure did. Unable to attend Palm Sunday Mass, we talked about the Holy Spirit coming to us.  How our Lord is always with us and we need to focus on the Light in all we face at all times, and not the darkness that seeks to confuse and frighten us. Trusting completely in our Lord. We have already been forgiven for not being able to attend, so we must accept His forgiveness. Least we  sin against the Holy Spirit, not trusting in our Lord’s pardon.

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Solemnity Of The Annunciation

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Thank you Mom for saying yes.

What should appear over Lourdes today, on the Solemnity of the Annunciation, but the sign of our Lord’s covenant with His people.

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Today’s Last Supper

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Our last public Mass was celebrated this morning and I was blessed to attend with two of my daughters. Never until this day, have I ever had a more solid and absolute grasp of the magnitude and sheer beauty of the Last Supper. In every moment of Holy Mass, the presence of our Lord was made known to me. Just when you know you can’t take another step closer to Him, He draws nearer to you.

From the very moment Holy Mass began, and even now, a few hours after, my soul is at peace. Truly in His peace. Knowing this would be the last time, not only I but many other souls would be able to receive Him for a time, every word that was spoken today, drew me into the Mass in a way only our Lord could do. Everything meant something very significant and was a direct reflection and correlated  what I had said early today in a blog post regarding saying goodbye for now, things that I had said to my children before hand, things I had thought about and most of all, that being family and friends who do not know Him yet, and every fear was gone. I do not expect anyone to understand this. Everything is tied together by Him and in Him. Even the music today spoke to my heart. I could never put it into words, because the human mind can not hold nor process what its Creator can.

When I received Him today, I received the most beautiful consolation from Him.  When I received our Lord in the Eucharist this morning, I walked back to the pew, placed my head down with my eyes closed.  While my eyes were closed, there was such a magnificent BRIGHT light which I can’t describe.  There is nothing to compare it to. I began to cry as it became brighter and brighter still, as I just knew it was our Lord.  The Light filled me and after a time, as it diminished, I seen the Host at a distance until the light was gone, as if He was telling me, I am still here, hidden.  My children asked me if I was okay. I couldn’t speak but only shake my head yes and placed my head back down. I told them after mass, what I have written here today.

I took you all with me today in prayer. I received Him for all who could not. I pray He brings you to repentance and to His peace. I pray that you open your heart to Him completely. A very long time ago, “He told me everything I have done.” and with my entire heart, I wanted nothing more than to return to Him. Never take Him for granted. He loves you so much. Love Him back.

I pray you too can and do say, one day: “We no longer believe because of your word; for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is truly the savior of the world.”

 

 

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Just For A Time, Goodbye My Love

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I will be able to receive our Lord today at Holy Mass, for the last time until this pandemic is over, and the faithful are all allowed to return to their First Love.

“And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.”.

As I ponder not being able to receive our Lord in the Eucharist, as Masses for the public are canceled, from my point of view, as I am blessed to receive our Lord today for a last time, until this is all over, I can see it as a Military spouse, kissing her husband good bye as he heads off on a short deployment. Its just for a little while.

While I have spent many years separated from my spouse due to many deployments, we still talked. We still loved one another. It was just for a time and he returned. So I still love our Lord in return, remain faithful, and do what I can to stay close to Him, as He is never far from us. Is it He who is leaving? Or is it us? Mass is still being celebrated and Adoration of Him is still available. So like a deployed spouse, we can talk and still see each other, but unable to receive one another. The spiritual battle is real.

Today’s Gospel, is very special to me, as it was our Lord  who spoke to me, an ostracized soul from many places,  in the same way as He did with the woman at the well. I will post more about this later today, but for now, as eleven O’clock Mass approaches, this time is reserved strictly for our Lord. I will receive Him for all who are not able to today, along with bringing you with me in prayer, along with all who have died.

Peace.

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Around Italy In Quarantine

Pope Francis leads Benediction outside Basilica of St. Mary Major in Rome

“Yesterday in Italy the military flew over some areas affected by the Coronavirus with the Blessed Sacrament and an image of the Virgin of Fatima!”

“A great priest who never ceases to be present with his parish community. Thanks Father Ricotta”

 

 

Did you know the word “quarantine” was taken from the Italian quaranta giorni, meaning “forty days”? Penance & Lent

ALSO – Pope urges priests to bring Eucharist to sick during Italy coronavirus quarantine

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Little Faith

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This morning, I sat in with second graders about to make their First Holy Communion through our RCIA classes. The children were learning about the Mass, but also covered a little section in their books on how our Lord spoke in parables. The kingdom of heaven is like…

A mustard seed..

As the children listened to the teacher ask about the mustard seed, they answered her questions. I sat watching them pondering these little ones sitting in their chairs, waiting to sprout and grow.  They all were playing with their pencils, looking around, getting distracted as normal children do. Nothing I could see in them regarding our faith was freely being applied right now, because they were like tiny little furrows who were placed in a row, as the seeds of faith were being planted.

As one child held his pencil, I looked at his blank paper in front of him and was able to see how nothing is accomplished if we do not put our faith to work. We can read the bible, we can study scripture, we can even sit in RCIA forever learning but if we do not follow our Lords direction and apply it, its just words to us and not the Word. If we truly believe, we act on that faith. If we do not act on His word, we remain a simple seed which sprouts and quickly dies producing no fruit.

A pencil must be put to paper with effort on our part for its purpose to be revealed. One can say that they want to be an artist, but if they never draw, or sculpture or paint, or even try, simply saying I want to be an artist, needs actions on our part to be one. If I say I want to go to heaven, but I do not do what our Lord has asked of us, to follow Him, and go off in my own way and follow my own feelings and do what ever I want, what shall that get me? False hope comes to mind.

Little faith requires much action on our part. It must be regularly watered and nourished by practicing THE faith or we lose it completely and follow our own directions, creating our own gods who we worship instead, inventing our own faith, creating false hopes in our own powers.  We must attend Mass, we must regularly attend the sacrament of confession, we must pray, we must fast, we must produce good works and keep producing them even in the little things so the weeds of sin and selfishness that are also planted along side by the world in which we live, do not strangle the faith growing within us. Applying this faith not just on Sunday, but every day, in every way in all our actions. In this way we are living the faith in Word and Deed, in our speech and actions.

It was a beautiful morning with these little ones. I can’t wait to see what our Lord teaches me through them next week. Please pray for these children and their family’s, that the faith they are learning, is nurtured by family who live the faith with them, as role models for them, that it may sprout, grow strong and produce good fruit for the next generation.

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