LIVE | Special Contemplation of the Holy Shroud of Turin
January 1, 2021, we celebrate the Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God. True God and True man.
Ponder, if you will, the tasks of a Mother. Contemplate our Holy Mother doing these same tasks for our Lord. He needed to grow into a man, to eat, to drink, to be changed, to be bathed, to be held, to be comforted, to be taught. To be loved.
Ponder his cooing to her, how He gazed into her eyes, how he touched her face as she held Him near.
Ponder, did she teach Him to say Abba first before He said Mama?
She is a Mother like all mothers in sharing every responsibility that comes with Motherhood and unlike any other mother, being the Immaculate Conception.
Pray for us, O holy Mother of God. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
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
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
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
My family and I were out at dinner last light, celebrating my birthday. Even in these moments, contemplation of our Lord takes place.
As we sat down and the server took our orders, he had placed a few coasters down to hold our drinks. On the coasters were a picture of gift with the words “Loyalty Is Rewarded”. As I looked at the printed gift and pondered the words, immediately my thoughts were brought to our Lord on the cross and the small group of followers who stayed with Him. Looking at the picture of the Christmas gift on the coaster, on a side bar, were some words with the highlighted enlarged words “STEAK”. I thought of how we often rip through the wrapping without noticing at all the real gift. Would anyone notice the presence of our Lord in a crowded place as this, in such a simple way as this? Can anyone assess the real presence in our midst in Word?
If you look at the photo above, although not a photo of what I had seen, I will tell you what our Lord was showing me in the gift.
The ribbons in the cross pattern, showing me the Cross of our Lord and the bow in the center being our Lord on the cross.
“Loyalty Is Rewarded”
Constancy in allegiance to God or the things of God; steadfastness in fidelity to a person or cause, organization or enterprise. Implicit in loyalty is strong affection based on firm conviction that the object of one’s fidelity deserves the allegiance. (Etym. Latin legalis, of or belonging to the law, legal.)
And all while contemplating this, the server came back and took our orders. I had ordered a steak, cooked medium. You may say what does this have to do with anything? I did also at the time.
The server left and the conversation began again with all of us at the table. We prayed grace before our meal came.
I took hold of that coaster again as it was drawing my attention to the word “STEAK”. What is at steak? Well, our Lord was on the stake, and all of us are at stake. For some reason, I began to ponder the Gospel of Matt. 25:23
His master said to him, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. Since you were faithful in small matters, I will give you great responsibilities. Come, share your master’s joy.’
I began to tell our Lord interiorly, forgive me Lord, I ordered my steak medium and not well done. I hope the life I am leading is pleasing to you and I am never lukewarm.
The server returned and with him, brought our meal. As he placed my order in front of me, what should have been a steak cooked medium, was dark and black. It looked burnt. I stopped for a moment just staring at it. Recalling what was taking place in my contemplation of Him. Without saying a word, I cut into the black steak, and it was perfect.
This coming of our Lord, at Christmas, as we rip apart the wrapping to get to what is hidden underneath, may we never lose sight of Him in our hearts, His commands and His promise to us:
“Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.”
A blessed Second Week of Advent to all.
‘Make straight the way of the Lord‘” (John 1:23)
When we think of solitude, we often have fear of some desolate confinement as in a prison, or state of bleak and dismal emptiness. When we are separated from our Lord, it is, but when we are not, and trust in Him, it becomes a wonder filled place of extreme joy. The interior of the soul can be a beat up dirty place, but our Lord is there to help you clean it up, and decorate your life with all that good.
The very meaning of blessed “solitude” is that of peace. “O blessed solitude,” exclaims St. Jerome, “in which God with loving condescension deals familiarly with chosen souls!” It is in this place, the soul leans on humility and not pride, coming to grips with that which is not right and just, is cast out, if we respond as our Holy Mother, and her humility, “let it be done to me according to your word”. It is the place which we learn as St. John the Baptist, how to let the me, step aside and allow Him to complete. ‘He must increase, but I must decrease.”
Solitude is a place for which I have come to enjoy, in which all the excitement within my soul, good and bad, becomes still, (Psalm 46:10) and places a firm Trust, in our Lord. Heeding to His Way, Life and Truth, casting aside what may be my own diversions and disorders. It is the heart of pure contemplation in which the pure heart, most certainly sees her Lord.
When trust is broken among family, friends, co-workers, religious leaders, presidents, children and even spouses, we can take courage in knowing that when we place our trust FIRMLY in our Lord, it is only He who has never broken the trust. We find Him always where we left Him. Waiting for us.
“I don’t trust you” has become a chant in every day life to which I can say in love, Good! Don’t trust me. Look to our Lord and remember His Word, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You trust in God, trust also in me”.
`Come away with me. Let us go alone to a quiet place and rest for a while.’ “Our Hearts are Restless Until They Rest in You” From the Confessions Saint Augustine of Hippo. “Pray without ceasing.”
In the midst of chaos and troubles, He is there to quiet the storm within the soul.
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight” – Proverbs 3:5-6
In all the times we find ourselves “feeling” so alone and no one is there to help. Call on our Lord, He is with you always.
I am reduced to nothing, the moment this hymn begins. My throat closes. There is a tightness in my chest and the words can not pass my lips. I can never, as hard as I try, sing this hymn, as the tears well up and stream down my cheeks. I can only assume, for now, its the interior contemplation breaking out in a way I could never put into words.
This hymn is just a short part of Salve Mundi Salutare, a poem in honor of our Lords various members on the cross. I have shared this poem in previous posts, divided into seven cantos, “Ad Pedes”, “Ad Genua”, “Ad Manus”, “Ad Latus”, “Ad Pectus”, “Ad Cor”, “Ad Faciem” (To the Feet, Knees, Hands, Side, Breast, Heart, Face).
Please see the post below, To The Feet, and if you would like to continue, just click the next post.
Salve Mundi Salutare: Ad Pedes
Eternal Father, turn away Your angry gaze from our guilty people whose face has become unsightly in Your eyes. Look instead upon the Face of Your beloved Son, in Whom You are well pleased. We now offer You this Holy Face, covered with shame and disfigured by bloody bruises, in reparation for the crimes of our age, in order to appease Your anger, justly provoked against us. Because Your Divine Son, our Redeemer, has taken upon His Head all the sins of His members, that they might be spared, we now beg You, Eternal Father, to grant us mercy. Amen.
Jesus alone gives us all the new loving perspective of the escape from the grips of death.
“If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” (Lk 9:23).
Tuesday March 8, as I was on my way to visit a few souls I have been bringing our Lord in the Eucharist, who reside in a Nursing Home, I had my radio on in my car and heard a song I hadn’t heard for some time. “Make You Feel My Love” by Bob Dylan. As I listen to this song, various stages of our Lords passion came to my mind and heart, in such a way as I knew He was sharing His Life with me as I deeply seek to share every aspect of mine with Him…
When the rain is blowing in your face
And the whole world is on your case
I could offer you a warm embrace
To make you feel my love
When the evening shadows and the stars appear
And there is no one there to dry your tears
I could hold you for a million years
To make you feel my love
I know you haven’t made your mind up yet
But I would never do you wrong
I’ve known it from the moment that we met
No doubt in my mind where you belong
I’d go hungry, I’d go black and blue
I’d go crawling down the avenue
There’s nothing that I wouldn’t do
To make you feel my love
The storms are raging on the rollin’ sea
And on the highway of regret
The winds of change are blowing wild and free
You ain’t seen nothing like me yet
I could make you happy, make your dreams come true
Nothing that I wouldn’t do
Go to the ends of the earth for you
To make you feel my love
And its as simple as saying, yes Lord and doing everything He tells you. Once you know Him, you see Him everywhere…
Beautiful refection this morning from Saint Leo the Great from Divine Office
From a sermon by Saint Leo the Great, pope
Contemplating the Lord’s passion
True reverence for the Lord’s passion means fixing the eyes of our heart on Jesus crucified and recognizing in him our own humanity.
The earth — our earthly nature — should tremble at the suffering of its Redeemer. The rocks — the hearts of unbelievers — should burst asunder. The dead, imprisoned in the tombs of their mortality, should come forth, the massive stones now ripped apart. Foreshadowings of the future resurrection should appear in the holy city, the Church of God: what is to happen to our bodies should now take place in our hearts.
No one, however weak, is denied a share in the victory of the cross. No one is beyond the help of the prayer of Christ. His prayer brought benefit to the multitude that raged against him. How much more does it bring to those who turn to him in repentance. Ignorance has been destroyed, obstinacy has been overcome. The sacred blood of Christ has quenched the flaming sword that barred access to the tree of life. The age-old night of sin has given place to the true light.
The Christian people are invited to share the riches of paradise. All who have been reborn have the way open before them to return to their native land, from which they had been exiled. Unless indeed they close off for themselves the path that could be opened before the faith of a thief.
The business of this life should not preoccupy us with its anxiety and pride, so that we no longer strive with all the love of our heart to be like our Redeemer, and to follow his example. Everything that he did or suffered was for our salvation: he wanted his body to share the goodness of its head.
First of all, in taking our human nature while remaining God, so that the Word became man, he left no member of the human race, the unbeliever excepted, without a share in his mercy. Who does not share a common nature with Christ if he has welcomed Christ, who took our nature, and is reborn in the Spirit through whom Christ was conceived?
Again, who cannot recognize in Christ his own infirmities? Who would not recognize that Christ’s eating and sleeping, his sadness and his shedding of tears of love are marks of the nature of a slave?
It was this nature of a slave that had to be healed of its ancient wounds and cleansed of the defilement of sin. For that reason the only-begotten Son of God became also the son of man. He was to have both the reality of a human nature and the fullness of the godhead.
The body that lay lifeless in the tomb is ours. The body that rose again on the third day is ours. The body that ascended above all the heights of heaven to the right hand of the Father’s glory is ours. If then we walk in the way of his commandments, and are not ashamed to acknowledge the price he paid for our salvation in a lowly body, we too are to rise to share his glory. The promise he made will be fulfilled in the sight of all: Whoever acknowledges me before men, I too will acknowledge him before my Father who is in heaven.
This morning, as I sat with my family, I started to feel a bit ill. The longer I sat, the more ill I became. The nausea I began to feel slightly, became intense. I needed to separate myself before I became violently ill realizing, truly, for the first time, just how sick I was. I walked into my room and closed the door and sat at the edge of my bed for a moment. I reached out for the photo I have of our Lord in the Eucharist next to my bed from my husband and I’s wedding, along with grabbing a rosary. Laying down, I began to pray, placing our Lords photo on my chest.
I had a vision of a beautiful wheat field, planted and thriving next to a range of Mountains. It was spectacular.
As I entered into prayer of the Resurrection of our Lord, I was taken back to Christmas Eve and the Word Made Flesh. What came before my eyes, was the same Christ Child born, was now raising from the dead in the hands of the Priest on the Altar. What was simply harvested wheat and grapes, sacrificed at human hands, no longer in the world as such, were now alive again, in the Resurrected Body of our Lord from the tomb of death, to Life. Living Flesh and Blood.
As I continued on in prayer, so also, did the vision. I seen a Magnificent Chalice, surrounded by Glorious light and our Lord in the Eucharist, was a small Child conceived in the womb which was actually the Host. Raised in glorious spender on the Altar. My thoughts were taken to the Slaughter Of The Innocence, which continues today. As each grain of Wheat representing once a Child in the Womb, is cut down before the Harvest on a day our Lord only knows. Before the full manifestation in the world. We are created in the image of God. As our Lord Christ, was also, Innocent and slaughtered, overcoming.
I finished praying the Glorious Mysteries, and knew I had to write this down. As I lay in bed, and wait in prayer, the nausea has passed, my color is returning and find myself in peace once again. As I ponder the unknown illness and how it is effecting me, I can only assume that the evil one has failed again, thanks to the Rosary of Mama Mary and our Lord.
I pray on this feast day of the Holy Family, that we no longer, in any way, support the Slaughter of the Innocence, through abortion, euthanasia or any means not by the hands of our Lord Himself.
Praise, glory and honor to our Lord Jesus Christ, now and forever.
“Mine are the heavens and mine is the earth. Mine are the nations, the just are mine, and mine the sinners. The angels are mine, and the Mother of God, and all things are mine; and God himself is mine and for me, because Christ is mine and all for me. What do you ask, then, and seek, my soul? Yours is all of this, and all is for you. Do not engage yourself in anything less or pay heed to the crumbs that fall from your Father’s table. Go forth and exult in your Glory! Hide yourself in it and rejoice, and you will obtain the supplications of your heart.” – Saint John of the Cross, Sayings of Light and Love, 27
This photo surfaced today from the movie The Passion Of The Christ. As soon as I seen it, I couldn’t help but see this as it truly is. Don’t look at this photo as an actor receiving instructions from a director. Think of this as a man speaking to our Lord through his day. Sitting with his best friend. Asking His advise in all his ways.
This is how each and every one of us, who say we “believe” should spend all our days. Never forget, He IS right with you at all times. Talk to Him throughout the day and never think for a moment He is not there with you, at every moment and not just when you need Him. This is how I spend every second of my day and night. Outside of Holy Mass, this is how it is.
I don’t see Jim Caviezel or Mel Gibson in this photo. I see for the first time, someone able to capture a snapshot of the reality of Faith.
“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding. To him belongs eternal praise.” Psalm 111:10
On October 8, 2010, I attended the most beautiful Mass I had seen, in quite some time. It was 9:00 AM on a Friday and it happened to be the children Mass at my daughters school. As I entered there were children practicing their singing at the altar. They listened intently to their teacher. Sitting in the pews, were very patient little ones who did not make a peep. You could hear a pin drop. It wasn’t social time, it was time to pray.
The only sound before Mass, after the children finished singing, was the running water in the Baptismal font. There was reverence for our LORD. Not one prayer kneeler was dropped, not a cough was heard, nor a sneeze. It was the perfect Mass and the pews were filled with children. The Awe for our LORD was stunning.
I attended Mass yesterday morning at 6 AM. The problem is, Mass did not begin until 6:30. I had a half an hour to pray before breakfast with my LORD. No problem there! I live for the time I get to spend with Him. As I sat in the pew and started taking in my surroundings, trying to focus on what my LORD needed me to focus on, I was abruptly interrupted by constant chatter, then out of no where, two women began praying the rosary out loud at the top of their lungs. I don’t have a problem at all with praying the Rosary. I do however, believe our LORD comes first. Time spent in quiet prayer and contemplation of what we need to present to our Lord before Mass is essential. It “Cleanses the palate” before the feast! Also, a quite conversation before the day begins with the “Spouse”, sets the tone for the rest of the day.
As I sat trying to focus on our LORD, the prayer kneelers began to fall hard. Several women began to speak loudly to people just getting to Mass, what song would be sung. You could hear the aggravation in their voices and unhappiness to the announcement of the song. As to the one who made the announcement of the song to be sung, it was HER choice! And no one was going to change her mind! Obviously, some didn’t like the pick. It was continual disruption, for the half hour I had with Him.
Just before Mass begun, Father came out to inspect the altar. He was not happy. Someone blew out the Easter candle and it was unlit. Father informed all in attendance why he was not happy after mass, in regards to the candle. It is EASTER WEEK. How soon some forget.