“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.
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).“
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.
Today is day two of the novena to our Lady of Mount Carmel. In today’s reflection, we find that there are many flowers in the Garden of Carmel.
I am not one to assume my own flower, as I would rather that our Lord or Lady would designate that for me, and so, yesterday I had a soul contact me via direct message on social media, with an obvious scam. This person demanded that I send an email to their contact person, so I could claim my huge prize winnings. When this is done, the scammer obtains your entire contact list and attempts this scam on more souls.
I reported this person, as it was a scam that targets the deaf and hard of hearing. See here: Deceiving the Deaf
I shared their information with others, with a warning about this scam, so others would not be deceived. As I took it to prayer yesterday, I pondered the Venus Fly Trap. The Venus flytrap is a flowering plant best known for its carnivorous eating habits. It seems to get a bad rap as an aggressive little plant, but actually eats all the pests that danger others and protects the rest of the garden. It doesn’t chase after any of its meals but waits patiently for them to come to it. In reflecting on this little plant, I thought about this in regards to the spiritual life. The fly is an obvious symbol of sin and evil. When we repent, sin still comes to us, but it goes no further if we do not act upon it. Rather, we, like the little fly trap, consume it, stop it from going any further, and keep on doing the will of God.
During this Novena to our Lady of Mount Carmel, I pray we all stop the evil that comes to us daily, cloaked in the allurement of worldly pleasures, seeing them for what they are, hearing the call of our Lord and stop them dead in their tracks, giving the glory to our Lord.
For the entire Day Two reflection and prayer, please click HERE
I recently deleted my twitter account, and in the next few weeks, will be deleting my Facebook page. You see, I have been sitting on social media for many years now, not just blogging here, but starting all the way back in 06, blogging for someone else. I have begun to feel like a parrot lately. I can go back all through the years, and recite the same things, over an over again. I don’t even have to write them anymore, as my comments on most everything have already been logged here.
Politics never changes. Its always political. Faith, our faith, in how we grow in it, changes us all the time, while our Lord, never changes. What more can I say all day long on social media, that I haven’t already said? Not much. What I can do, is put it more into practice in the ways I have been unable to in the past. Within my own “home”. Holy Abandonment is beautiful. It allows the soul to rest in our Lord, knowing that no matter what may come, may our Lord’s Will be done. My own “home” is what our Lord has entrusted me with.
So my days and time on social media platforms may not be a prevalent as past years, but my putting this faith into actions, I have been given, will be used where it is needed. In my home, in formation with my Carmalite community and in my parish.
Imagine my surprise today, to find this beautiful reflection in my morning prayer, in iBreviary. The words, echo my thoughts as I have contemplated this decision to leave. Our Lord is the Divine Master of all. What peace He has given to souls who seek Him.
From the book Way of Perfection by Saint Teresa of Avila, virgin (Obras de la gloriosa madre Sta Teresa de Jesus, Tomo 1, Madrid, 1752: 30:1-4 pp. 526-528)
Your kingdom come
“When asking a favor of some person of importance would anyone be so ill-mannered and thoughtless as not first to consider how best to address him in order to make a good impression and give him no cause for offense? Surely he would think over his petition carefully and his reason for making it, especially if it were for something specific and important as our good Jesus tells us our petitions should be. It seems to me that this point deserves serious attention. My Lord, could you not have included all in one word by saying “Father, give us whatever is good for us?” After all, to one who understands everything so perfectly, what need is there to say more?
O Eternal Wisdom, between you and your Father that was enough; that was how you prayed in the garden. You expressed your desire and fear but surrendered yourself to his will. But as for us, my Lord, you know that we are less submissive to the will of your Father and need to mention each thing separately in order to stop and think whether it would be good for us, and otherwise not ask for it. You see, the gift our Lord intends for us may be by far the best, but if it is not what we wanted we are quite capable of flinging it back in his face. That is the kind of people we are; ready cash is the only wealth we understand.
Therefore, the good Jesus bids us repeat these words, this prayer for his kingdom to come in us: Hallowed be your name, your kingdom come. See how wise our Master is! But what do we mean when we pray for this kingdom? That is what I am going to consider now, for it is important that we should understand it. Our good Jesus placed these two petitions side by side because he realized that in our inadequacy we could never fittingly hallow, praise, exalt or glorify this holy name of the eternal Father unless he enabled us to do so by giving us his kingdom here on earth. But since we must know what we are asking for and how important it is to pray for it without ceasing and to do everything in our power to please him who is to give it to us, I should now like to give you my own thoughts on the matter.
Of the many joys that are found in the kingdom of heaven, the greatest seems to me to be the sense of tranquility and well-being that we shall experience when we are free from all concern for earthly things. Glad because others are glad and for ever at peace, we shall have the deep satisfaction of seeing that by all creatures the Lord is honored and praised, and his name blessed. No one ever offends him, for there everyone loves him. Loving him is the soul’s one concern. Indeed it cannot help but love him, for it knows him. Here below our love must necessarily fall short of that perfection and constancy, but even so how different it would be, how much more like that of heaven, if we really knew our Lord!”
Edit to add: 7/03/2020 2:00 PM
I have now, reactivated my twitter account as of today, as I received an email from the Coordinator of Lay Carmelites, Province of the Most Pure Heart of Mary, inquiring if I would take the position of Regional Formation Coordinator for the San Diego region. After much consideration, and truly, this being the feast of St. Thomas the Apostle, this is something I have been pondering for quite a while. Where, Lord, did You need me? That I may give You my all. What, Lord, are You asking of me? That I may give You to all. Social media, for me, had become a very loud place as I was trying to find that inner silence again. Sometimes, we get drawn into the chaos of the world, and our Lord truly is the only exit. I was unsure as to the answers of these questions and to be frank, that email from the Coordinator sat in my inbox for two days, without me even seeing it.
I have answered with a resounding yes to the coordinator and to our Lord. This latest encounter with our Lord, has definitely found me proclaiming, “My Lord and my God.”
With this yes, comes the challenge to keep my focus on our Lord, and Carmel. Looking into the deleting of some platforms, I have found myself turning them back on, as there are many souls who do seek our Lord, and in those platforms, a channel to Him has been established.
prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against a person or people on the basis of their membership of a particular racial or ethnic group, typically one that is a minority or marginalized.
I can’t tell you how sick it makes me to hear, whites never encounter racism but perpetrate it. It runs in every culture. Just because someone may not have the same experience as someone else, does not make it not racism. Or what some had once called “reverse racism”. There is no such thing. There is only racism. What I am about to say is the reality of racism.
My family was forced to leave our former parish and school, because my daughter was bullied, bad, for not speaking Spanish. Keep in mind this was a few years ago. We didn’t learn of the bulling until she had entered into the third grade. We were astonished to learn it had been taking place when she began school, in kindergarten. We were told it was no big deal. It was a big deal. My daughter was picked on constantly, had her lunch stolen daily and was ridiculed without any care for her feelings. She began to struggle in school and was having a hard time concentrating and we were told, it was no big deal. So racism against white children, was no big deal according to the administrators. We were one of two ONLY white family’s in that particular school. When the decision was made to place our children there, I knew it was mostly Hispanic but it didn’t matter to me, it was Catholic.
We left a week later, and entered into a new parish and placed our children into the new school. STILL the minority among a majority of a mix of Chaldean’s and Spanish. Also Catholic. We have never been more happy in this new place. The child who was bulled at the other school, graduated two years ago with many friends and a joyful school experience she will never forget.
Life is hard! Humility is needed among ALL of us, no matter what color our skin may be and believe you me, HUMILITY toughens the skin no matter what color it is, to forget the hate and love anyway. I forgive them. I pray for them. When someone says that I need to walk in their shoes, I have. But it doesn’t matter to most, because what is said in return by most is that I’m white, which is a statement that is actually the heart of racism in itself.
As Catholics, we are called to be of One Body. Skin tone doesn’t matter. Hair color doesn’t matter. Skin deep faith is not our faith. Our faith cuts deep in the heart where racism is not present and only Love exists.
From a sermon by Saint Augustine, bishop (Sermo 47, 12-14, De ovibus: CCL 41, 582-584)
“If I wanted to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ
This is our glory: the witness of our conscience. There are men who rashly judge, who slander, whisper and murmur, who are eager to suspect what they do not see, and eager to spread abroad things they have not even a suspicion of. Against men of this sort, what defense is there save the witness of our own conscience?
My brothers, we do not seek, nor should we seek, our own glory even among those whose approval we desire. What we should seek is their salvation, so that if we walk as we should they will not go astray in following us. They should imitate us if we are imitators of Christ; and if we are not, they should still imitate him. He cares for his flock, and he alone is to be found with those who care for their flocks, because they are all in him.
And so we seek no advantage for ourselves when we aim to please men. We want to take our joy in men—and we rejoice when they take pleasure in what is good, not because this exalts us, but because it benefits them.
It is clear who is intended by the apostle Paul: If I wanted to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ. And similarly when he says: Be pleasing to all men in all things, even as I in all things please all men. Yet his words are as clear as water, limpid, undisturbed, unclouded. And so you should, as sheep, feed on and drink of his message; do not trample on it or stir it up.
You have listened to our Lord Jesus Christ as he taught his apostles: Let your actions shine before men so that they may see you good deeds, and give glory to your Father who is in heaven, for it is the Father who made you thus. We are the people of his pasture, the sheep of his hands. If then you are good, praise is due to him who made you so; it is no credit to you, for if you were left to yourself, you could only be wicked. Why then do you try to pervert the truth, in wishing to be praised when you do good, and blaming God when you do evil? For though he said: Let your works shine before men, in the same Sermon on the Mount he also said: Do not parade your good deeds before men. So if you think there are contradictions in Saint Paul, you will find the same in the Gospels; but if you refrain from troubling the waters of your heart, you will recognize here the peace of the Scriptures and with it you will have peace.
And so, my brothers, our concern should be not only to live as we ought, but also to do so in the sight of men; not only to have a good conscience but also, so far as we can in our weakness, so far as we can govern our frailty, to do nothing which might lead our weak brother into thinking evil of us. Otherwise, as we feed on the good pasture and drink the pure water, we may trample on God’s meadow, and weaker sheep will have to feed on trampled grass and drink from troubled waters.”
As Deitrich Bonhoeffer reminds us, when Christ calls us he bids us die, to ourselves and to the world, and still at rarer times, in true martyrdom of the body for the sake of the Faith.
Some Christians will be crucified spiritually, others, as in the middle-east of our days, quite literally upon a Cross of Spiritual Battles or upon the wood of a roughly hewn beam under the watch of our old enemies, certain followers of a man who set us in opposition 1,400 years ago.
The Way, the Way of a Christian is along the Via Dolorosa towards the Cross.
The Gospel isn’t merely a set of books, as meritorious as their spiritual guidance is, but a profound sacrifice of ourselves through the grace gifted to us by the Persons of Love, as expressed through the Paraclete, the Comforter, who resides in an especially intimate way in the hearts of those called forth to the Altar worthily. The Word of God is dynamic, is alive, brings forth existence itself, is Scripture, Christ, His Church and all who follow the will of the Father. The Word of God is Love, and Love is a Person who invites us to His Presence. The Universe itself owes its existence to this effulgence of Love which could not help but call us forth to participate in this Love – And this is why Christ is King. This gift of the virtue of courage in martyrdom to ourselves and the world for love of God and neighbor for the Advancement of the Kingdom of True Love ( Agape ) is the Gospel, and that we can participate in it through the power of the Comforter is the Good News. That we have been overcome by grace and have become chalices overflowing with grace to bring new life into the world against the Cultures of Death and Darkness, which do not reside in the Truth since Truth is the Person of Love in the Most Holy and Blessed Trinity. The gaze of Love between the Father and the Son, eternally.
FROM TODAY’S OFFICE OF READINGS IN THE LITURGY OF THE HOURS:
From a homily by Pope Paul VI-
“Not to preach the Gospel would be my undoing, for Christ himself sent me as his apostle and witness. The more remote, the more difficult the assignment, the more my love of God spurs me on. I am bound to proclaim that Jesus is Christ, the Son of the living God. Because of him we come to know the God we cannot see. He is the firstborn of all creation; in him all things find their being. Man’s teacher and redeemer, he was born for us, died for us, and for us he rose from the dead.
All things, all history converges in Christ. A man of sorrow and hope, he knows us and loves us. As our friend he stays by us throughout our lives; at the end of time he will come to be our judge; but we also know that he will be the complete fulfilment of our lives and our great happiness for all eternity.
I can never cease to speak of Christ for he is our truth and our light; he is the way, the truth and the life. He is our bread, our source of living water who allays our hunger and satisfies our thirst. He is our shepherd, our leader, our ideal, our comforter and our brother.
He is like us but more perfectly human, simple, poor, humble, and yet, while burdened with work, he is more patient. He spoke on our behalf; he worked miracles; and he founded a new kingdom: in it the poor are happy; peace is the foundation of a life in common; where the pure of heart and those who mourn are uplifted and comforted; the hungry find justice; sinners are forgiven; and all discover that they are brothers.
The image I present to you is the image of Jesus Christ. As Christians you share his name; he has already made most of you his own. So once again I repeat his name to you Christians and I proclaim to all men: Jesus Christ is the beginning and the end, the alpha and the omega, Lord of the new universe, the great hidden key to human history and the part we play in it. He is the mediator – the bridge, if you will – between heaven and earth. Above all he is the Son of man, more perfect than any man, being also the Son of God, eternal and infinite. He is the son of Mary his mother on earth, more blessed than any woman. She is also our mother in the spiritual communion of the mystical body.
Remember: it is Jesus Christ I preach day in and day out. His name I would see echo and re-echo for all time even to the ends of the earth.”
‘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.’
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
Having been on the receiving end of racism, as a white woman, pondering how I see today’s riots, and the lack of action to end them, I was asking my children, if they remember when they studied about Kristallnacht. Both my children do, and we talked about it, in regards to what we are seeing today. We prayed.
We know, that racism is not reserved to white people, rather it is a cultural cancer in all society’s.
As the riots continued, I watched social media explode with Catholics screaming, “I am Antifa”, to which I could only shake my head and pray for them. Communism is not something any Catholic should be cheering on, nor supporting. Let me share with you, where “Antifa” was conceived and how today, it is still the case.
As a Catholic, a child of God, we know that ALL racism is to be condemned as it is born from hate for neighbor. Racism is a fear of others, who do not “seem” to be like you. When one sees our Lord in their neighbor, racism has no place, and is never allowed to grow. We are called love our neighbor as our self. Communists fear nothing, especially God.
Today, a friend share this, and I feel I must share it with you.
When Mobs Dispense Social Justice Written by Adam Mill June, 5th 2020
We should never place the race of one, over the race of another. ALL of us belong to the Human Race.
O God, Creator of the universe, who extends your paternal concern over every creature and guides the events of history to the goal of salvation, we acknowledge your fatherly love when you break the resistance of mankind and, in a world torn by strife and discord, you make us ready for reconciliation. Renew for us the wonders of your mercy; send forth your Spirit that he may work in the intimacy of hearts, that enemies may begin to dialogue, that adversaries may shake hands and peoples may encounter one another in harmony. May all commit themselves to the sincere search for true peace which will extinguish all arguments, for charity which overcomes hatred, for pardon which disarms revenge.
“Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.”
― Martin Luther King Jr., Strength to Love
What is love? So faith, hope, love remain, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
Act of Love
O my God, I love Thee above all things with my whole heart and soul, because Thou art all good and worthy of all love. I love my neighbor as myself for love of Thee. I forgive all who have injured me, and I ask pardon for all whom I have injured.
Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created. And You shall renew the face of the earth.
O, God, who by the light of the Holy Spirit, did instruct the hearts of the faithful, grant that by the same Holy Spirit we may be truly wise and ever enjoy His consolations, Through Christ Our Lord, Amen.
“The Judgment of Solomon is a story from the Hebrew Bible in which King Solomon of Israel ruled between two women both claiming to be the mother of a child. Solomon revealed their true feelings and relationship to the child by suggesting to cut the baby in two, with each woman to receive half. With this strategy, he was able to discern the non-mother as the woman who entirely approved of this proposal, while the actual mother begged that the sword might be sheathed and the child committed to the care of her rival”
Happy Mothers Day to all who have had a child wrongly taken from them, had to place their child in foster care, or had to place a child up for adoption. You are a Mother who knows what it means to be a mother who suffers for your children.May our Lord bring you His peace and healing as I share in this pain with you. May you unite that suffering with our Lord, as He also knows what it means, to have His children taken away from Him through the allurement of sin. May you remember that our children, have only been entrusted to us to care and nurture. They truly belong to Him.
You will always be the mother of the child. Even if the relationship has been cut. Sometimes, like the prodigal son, they return, sometimes they do not. We know, and hold in our hearts, that one day they will return to our Lord. Pray for them, for that day, that they may recognize Him and not turn away again.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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!
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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
“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.
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”.
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.
Although the PUBLIC Holy Mass has been canceled, Palm Sunday goes on. We must look deep into our hearts and see with faith, that nothing can take away the fact that our Lord has come into His Kingdom, and is seated at the right hand of our Father. Although we may not receive our free palms to make those beautiful crosses and to adorn our crucifix in our homes, we have received the greatest gift, that being our Lord, Himself.
We must still welcome Him, into the temple of our bodies spiritually. To rid us of our pride, our self contentedness, our sins, and so we to, can join Him freely, on the Via Dolorosa, as we carry our crosses, with Him, to be crucified with Him.
In all of this, I pray souls come to realize how much we all NEED the Sacraments. I pray souls come to a deep state of repentance. I pray souls throw themselves with desire into the Sacrament of Confession when it is available, often. I pray souls come to realize our Lord needs to be placed FIRST before ANYTHING else in our lives and return in droves to Him, our First Love. I pray souls learn how to forgive one another, as our Lord has forgiven us. And I pray that we never lose the importance of Him, ever again.
Yes God loves us, do we love Him? “If you love me, keep my commands.” John 14:15
May we die to self, and rise in our Lord. My Lord Jesus Christ, graciously hear us.
“When evening had come” (Mk 4:35). The Gospel passage we have just heard begins like this. For weeks now it has been evening. Thick darkness has gathered over our squares, our streets and our cities; it has taken over our lives, filling everything with a deafening silence and a distressing void, that stops everything as it passes by; we feel it in the air, we notice in people’s gestures, their glances give them away. We find ourselves afraid and lost. Like the disciples in the Gospel we were caught off guard by an unexpected, turbulent storm. We have realized that we are on the same boat, all of us fragile and disoriented, but at the same time important and needed, all of us called to row together, each of us in need of comforting the other. On this boat… are all of us. Just like those disciples, who spoke anxiously with one voice, saying “We are perishing” (v. 38), so we too have realized that we cannot go on thinking of ourselves, but only together can we do this.
It is easy to recognize ourselves in this story. What is harder to understand is Jesus’ attitude. While his disciples are quite naturally alarmed and desperate, he stands in the stern, in the part of the boat that sinks first. And what does he do? In spite of the tempest, he sleeps on soundly, trusting in the Father; this is the only time in the Gospels we see Jesus sleeping. When he wakes up, after calming the wind and the waters, he turns to the disciples in a reproaching voice: “Why are you afraid? Have you no faith?” (v. 40).
Let us try to understand. In what does the lack of the disciples’ faith consist, as contrasted with Jesus’ trust? They had not stopped believing in him; in fact, they called on him. But we see how they call on him: “Teacher, do you not care if we perish?” (v. 38). Do you not care: they think that Jesus is not interested in them, does not care about them. One of the things that hurts us and our families most when we hear it said is: “Do you not care about me?” It is a phrase that wounds and unleashes storms in our hearts. It would have shaken Jesus too. Because he, more than anyone, cares about us. Indeed, once they have called on him, he saves his disciples from their discouragement.
The storm exposes our vulnerability and uncovers those false and superfluous certainties around which we have constructed our daily schedules, our projects, our habits and priorities. It shows us how we have allowed to become dull and feeble the very things that nourish, sustain and strengthen our lives and our communities. The tempest lays bare all our prepackaged ideas and forgetfulness of what nourishes our people’s souls; all those attempts that anesthetize us with ways of thinking and acting that supposedly “save” us, but instead prove incapable of putting us in touch with our roots and keeping alive the memory of those who have gone before us. We deprive ourselves of the antibodies we need to confront adversity.
In this storm, the facade of those stereotypes with which we camouflaged our egos, always worrying about our image, has fallen away, uncovering once more that (blessed) common belonging, of which we cannot be deprived: our belonging as brothers and sisters.
“Why are you afraid? Have you no faith?” Lord, your word this evening strikes us and regards us, all of us. In this world, that you love more than we do, we have gone ahead at breakneck speed, feeling powerful and able to do anything. Greedy for profit, we let ourselves get caught up in things, and lured away by haste. We did not stop at your reproach to us, we were not shaken awake by wars or injustice across the world, nor did we listen to the cry of the poor or of our ailing planet. We carried on regardless, thinking we would stay healthy in a world that was sick. Now that we are in a stormy sea, we implore you: “Wake up, Lord!”.
“Why are you afraid? Have you no faith?” Lord, you are calling to us, calling us to faith. Which is not so much believing that you exist, but coming to you and trusting in you. This Lent your call reverberates urgently: “Be converted!”, “Return to me with all your heart” (Joel 2:12). You are calling on us to seize this time of trial as a time of choosing. It is not the time of your judgement, but of our judgement: a time to choose what matters and what passes away, a time to separate what is necessary from what is not. It is a time to get our lives back on track with regard to you, Lord, and to others. We can look to so many exemplary companions for the journey, who, even though fearful, have reacted by giving their lives. This is the force of the Spirit poured out and fashioned in courageous and generous self-denial. It is the life in the Spirit that can redeem, value and demonstrate how our lives are woven together and sustained by ordinary people – often forgotten people – who do not appear in newspaper and magazine headlines nor on the grand catwalks of the latest show, but who without any doubt are in these very days writing the decisive events of our time: doctors, nurses, supermarket employees, cleaners, caregivers, providers of transport, law and order forces, volunteers, priests, religious men and women and so very many others who have understood that no one reaches salvation by themselves. In the face of so much suffering, where the authentic development of our peoples is assessed, we experience the priestly prayer of Jesus: “That they may all be one” (Jn 17:21). How many people every day are exercising patience and offering hope, taking care to sow not panic but a shared responsibility. How many fathers, mothers, grandparents and teachers are showing our children, in small everyday gestures, how to face up to and navigate a crisis by adjusting their routines, lifting their gaze and fostering prayer. How many are praying, offering and interceding for the good of all. Prayer and quiet service: these are our victorious weapons.
“Why are you afraid? Have you no faith”? Faith begins when we realize we are in need of salvation. We are not self-sufficient; by ourselves we founder: we need the Lord, like ancient navigators needed the stars. Let us invite Jesus into the boats of our lives. Let us hand over our fears to him so that he can conquer them. Like the disciples, we will experience that with him on board there will be no shipwreck. Because this is God’s strength: turning to the good everything that happens to us, even the bad things. He brings serenity into our storms, because with God life never dies.
The Lord asks us and, in the midst of our tempest, invites us to reawaken and put into practice that solidarity and hope capable of giving strength, support and meaning to these hours when everything seems to be floundering. The Lord awakens so as to reawaken and revive our Easter faith. We have an anchor: by his cross we have been saved. We have a rudder: by his cross we have been redeemed. We have a hope: by his cross we have been healed and embraced so that nothing and no one can separate us from his redeeming love. In the midst of isolation when we are suffering from a lack of tenderness and chances to meet up, and we experience the loss of so many things, let us once again listen to the proclamation that saves us: he is risen and is living by our side. The Lord asks us from his cross to rediscover the life that awaits us, to look towards those who look to us, to strengthen, recognize and foster the grace that lives within us. Let us not quench the wavering flame (cf. Is 42:3) that never falters, and let us allow hope to be rekindled.
Embracing his cross means finding the courage to embrace all the hardships of the present time, abandoning for a moment our eagerness for power and possessions in order to make room for the creativity that only the Spirit is capable of inspiring. It means finding the courage to create spaces where everyone can recognize that they are called, and to allow new forms of hospitality, fraternity and solidarity. By his cross we have been saved in order to embrace hope and let it strengthen and sustain all measures and all possible avenues for helping us protect ourselves and others. Embracing the Lord in order to embrace hope: that is the strength of faith, which frees us from fear and gives us hope.
“Why are you afraid? Have you no faith”? Dear brothers and sisters, from this place that tells of Peter’s rock-solid faith, I would like this evening to entrust all of you to the Lord, through the intercession of Mary, Health of the People and Star of the stormy Sea. From this colonnade that embraces Rome and the whole world, may God’s blessing come down upon you as a consoling embrace. Lord, may you bless the world, give health to our bodies and comfort our hearts. You ask us not to be afraid. Yet our faith is weak and we are fearful. But you, Lord, will not leave us at the mercy of the storm. Tell us again: “Do not be afraid” (Mt 28:5). And we, together with Peter, “cast all our anxieties onto you, for you care about us” (cf. 1 Pet 5:7).
You can offer your Plenary Indulgence for someone dying today.
When you see this photo and want to cry, because it seems Pope Francis was all alone. Don’t. He was not alone. We were ALL with him in prayer. Use the eyes of your heart and SEE the faith is alive and well.
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.