Tag Archives: forgiveness

Eternal Life Begins Now

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We have many good lessons to learn, through this tragic event…

Sunday morning, my youngest daughter came to me in tears, showing me her iPad and asking me if it was true! She really took me by surprise and was yelling at me to tell her. I asked her a few times before looking down, what? What? Is what true?  She proceed to walk to my husband and show him and he picked up the TV remote, changed the channel and yes. It was true. Kobe Bryant was killed that morning in a horrific helicopter crash. My daughter was inconsolable. I held her as she cried, and asked her if she wanted to pray for him and we did together. My daughter is extremely sensitive when news breaks of anyone’s death.

She walked into her room sobbing while my husband, who happens to be an air traffic controller, and myself, sat in shock watching the news unfold. Later that day, hearing Kobe and his daughter attended Holy Mass, brought us all great comfort. We attended the evening Mass that day, and the Priest added Kobe and Gianna, his 13 year old daughter, along with all who had died in that horrific crash, in the prayers of the faithful. My daughter looked at me during that moment and smiled. She was at peace again.

First spiritual lesson to learn. I can not stress the importance of receiving our Lord in the Sacraments before we die. We never know when our Lord is going to take us home. If we become sick, or if we have sick loved ones, who are Catholic, PLEASE, before they slip into a condition to where they can not longer receive our Lord in the Eucharist, call a Priest to administer the Sacraments! There is a great post here on this subject: A Guide to the Last Rites May take this time for granted and wait until the loved one has already died, or is in a vegetative state. Please, the sooner the better that they may take our Lord with them on that final journey.

Getting back to the news of Kobe.  I must admit, I am not a fan of basketball. Not even a fan as I was living in Chicago, when the Bulls took the Championship five times with Michael Jordan and the rest of the crew. What I am a huge fan of, is repenting sinners. Another spiritual lessons to learn in this, is repentance. In learning more about Kobe and his charities, his regular attendance of Holy Mass and even attending daily Mass, my heart leaped knowing he sure looked like a repenting soul to me. At that point in anyone’s life, the moment of repentance, turning back to our Lord, what we ONCE WERE, is no longer who we are at this moment. It’s gone, as we allow our Lord to build us into what He created us to be. Letting go of what we want to be, accepting the good and the bad. What our Lord has already forgiven, can no longer be held against us. The sin is gone, although the residual effect of the sin may remain. Its not easy to find souls in this society we are exiles in, willing to forgive us, as our Lord has. Holding on to His is forgiveness through the sacrament of reconciliation, hearing the words “I absolve you”, is key to moving through all society holds against the repenting soul, and not allowing the world to take away the joy of being forgiven,  getting that second chance in life in Christ to do what is right and just again.  Society often holds on to the bitterness, unable to move past others sins, because it lacks the ability to forgive and heal, although society (the world) could never be burdened with thinking of its own sins first.

It no longer mattered to me what he may have done, but my hope for him and all was what may be. His continuing the journey on into eternal life with our Lord.

Another spiritual lesson to be learned, is not constantly looking at the ugliness of one another, and finding the good in each soul.  Anyone can see the dirt in their neighbor, be the one who finds the gold. We must remember that what we hold against our neighbors, will be held also against us. We are called to forgive as we have been forgiven. We are called to see the good in others, and not continually focus on the bad. A repenting soul, knows their own sins and do not need others to help them remember them, especially when they have already been forgiven.  I’m not saying Kobe is a Saint, although I hope he is, as that is a judgement left to our Lord. What I am saying is he definitely was working on his salvation, while he was still here. That is another key to our salvation. We live the faith now, repent now, so not to regret later. Eternal life begins in this life. CS Lewis said:  ‘Die before you die, there is no chance after.’

I pray for everyone, during this tragedy, to remember the words our Lord spoke, directly after teaching us how to pray:

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If you forgive others their transgressions, your heavenly Father will forgive you.  But if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your transgressions.

I hope others see how important it is to forgive as we ourselves have been forgiven.

I pray for the souls of all who have lost their lives in this horrific tragedy, and I also hope that more souls, still here, can see the joy of repentance and forgiveness and begin eternal life, now. Lord have mercy on us all.

Prayer for The Eternal Rest

Eternal rest grant unto them,

O Lord, and let perpetual light

shine upon them. May the souls

of all the faithful departed, through

the mercy of God, rest in peace.

Amen

 

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The Charcoal Fire

A social media friend had asked me if I liked poetry and shared a wonderful poem with me. As I read it, I knew that I must share it. Enjoy.

The Charcoal Fire

Spark and sputter, charcoal fire,
Ember witness of naked desire.
The shame I cannot bear to tell,
The shame that hastens me to hell.
Not the brave emboldened one,
Thrice denied:
“Never knew him,” leave me alone!
Spark and sputter, charcoal fire,
Ember witness of naked desire.

How I hate what I have done,
Remote dream;
The Chosen One!
Cruel sarcasm to my soul,
Broken vessel can’t be made whole.
O the dream what I might be,
Only serves to torment me.
Spark and sputter, charcoal fire.
Ember witness of naked desire.

“Caught any fish?” The stranger called.
Days and weeks my labor is spent.
Ashes my bread, my back is bent.
“Try the other side,” he said.
(I’ll try anything, I’m good as dead).
Spark and sputter, charcoal fire.
Ember witness of naked desire.

Familiar Stranger, questions me,
“Love me thou?” (this times three).
O get this over, screams my head,
Pronounce the words I’ve come to dread.
Scold me as I ought to be,
Drown me in my misery.
Spark and sputter, charcoal fire.
Ember witness of naked desire.

Slowly dawns the rising sun,
Slowly dawns what has been done.
Roasted fish; a meal so humble.
On Mercy feasted, so I tremble!
“As sparks fly upward,”
Now I see. Homeward bound,
My soul is free.
Spark and sputter, charcoal fire.
Ember witness of His desire.

A. Littletree

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When Abuse Hits Home – My Parish, My Former Pastor

Adoration

As all the news is breaking today, some of it old, some new, a friend posted a link on my Facebook page and asked me if I had heard about it…

“Lay woman’s saga illustrates clerical sexual abuse of adults”

Yes. Lived through it not only as a rape survivor, but as seeing the fallout from when it takes place in the church. I do share in this woman’s sufferings. The hardest part is trying to explain it all to my children who knew him, who also received the sacraments from him. I didn’t and still don’t need to know the details.  He was removed and our LORD remains.

The days that followed after we met our FORMER pastor, my daughters handed him a gift. It was a gift of Sacred Heart purificators and a corporal. I told him, it was a gift to my children’s Shepherd.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago, as I was helping our Sacristan, I had noticed they were still there, in the Sacristy, feet away from the Tabernacle to be used. As I ponder this gift, I come to understand that it was and is, a gift to our true Shepherd. Our Lord Jesus Christ.

Lets go deeper. My parish, my priest. No matter the location, no matter the Priest, we are all in this together, as you parish, is my parish. Your Priest is my priest. That is our Lord. “Persona Christi”. The Church is our spiritual home.

I forgave him a long time ago in my heart, but some who have never heard, don’t know that the exposing of all this, is best for all of us. Its truly a cleansing we must not be embarrassed about, but rather take and understand that as our Lord said, unless a gran of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat. Change for the better comes through death of the old self, and rebirth of the new. No fears of what will the neighbors say. But rather understanding that the neighbors too, one day will have to come to grips with it also. This exposing of abuse is GOOD NEWS.

No matter what may come, our Lord has already prevailed. Cling to Him.

 

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The Good News

Good News

You can’t simply delete history by trying to destroy it. All you do by trying is add to its lunacy.

Repent and proclaim the Good News of our Lord Jesus Christ, by LIVING it

LIVE the faith. Live in Him

“Do not be afraid to take a chance on peace, to teach peace, to live peace. Peace will be the last word of history” – St. Pope John Paul II

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Why We March – Day 4 #IStand4Life

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On March 21 of last year, I wrote a post about a the day my dad died, and what has taken place in the years that followed. I have not had much communication with family for many years, outside of  social media and a visit from time to time. One sister finally met my youngest daughter who is now ten, this past fall. The reason I post this, is that for most of my life, I always felt insignificant to anyone. Like garbage you could just toss away and no one would notice. Not so anymore. Although I may be insignificant and unnoticed by the entire world, I know I am not to our Lord nor is any human being.. As my conversion of heart continues, embracing my nothingness in this world and His vastness is something I could have never dreamed of before, as a key to seeing how precious every life is in the eyes of our Lord.

I share this today because of the call to go “One Step Further”. I was misdiagnosed with bipolar disorder not long after my father had entered into eternal life, which, after being re diagnosed a few years later, was actually serious grief issues after a series of extreme life changing incidents, emotionally abusive relationship, losing a job, my mother having lung cancer, losing my home, having to send my oldest daughter to live with a sister, surviving a brutal rape,  I tried to take my own life.  From that moment of waking up in the ICU, knowing our Lord had given me a second chance, I began to walk with Him and not away from Him any longer. Keeping my eyes on Him and focused on him.   My dad and his timely death, played big part, which brought me to today, to see the beautiful significance of the connection of our Lord between us all. I can say, very easily,  life is worth living, no matter how hard it may be, no matter how much suffering there may be, no matter how much one may be lacking in material possessions, each and ever human life, is worth living and only our Lord can take that life from us, as He gives us life.

 One Step Further:
Proponents of doctor-assisted suicide try to draw a sharp distinction between those with a mental illness who want to end their lives and those with a terminal illness who express the same wish. “Every Suicide is Tragic” explores the consequences of this false distinction. (supplemental information and short videos)

I have written quite often about my conversion concerning the day my dad entered into eternal life. It was September 23, 1996, the feast of St. Padre Pio and my dad had been the glue that held my family, brothers and sisters and myself together. Since his death, many have left the Catholic faith and went off doing what ever. In all honestly, since I moved out to California I had lost contact with most of them and focused on what I had asked in that prayer.

The night my dad died, as he lay dying, I prayed that he would talk to our Lord and get me back home to Him. Here we are, 2016 and after extensive repenting and getting back in communion, I will be making my first Profession in the Third Order Of Carmel, TOC on October 1.

This morning at Holy Mass, during the Homily, my priest had told us that the main objective of our duties this Holy Week, was New Evangelization to those within our own Family’s who had left the faith. I sat with my head hung low as I knew this job that had just been presented to me, would be extremely difficult, as my brothers and sisters in my own family, along with nieces and nephews and even my own oldest daughter, have left the faith. Along with cousins, and others. Outside of an older sister of mine, the entire family stopped believing in Him and the faith we all grew up into and went their own ways. It has been extremely painful for me in many ways as I have been viewed by them as the crazy one. One never to be listened to. From the onset of my Conversion of Heart, I can not stop listening to our Lord, nor will I. I left them all and continued to cling to our Lord and the only Truth left in this world. And here we are.

This morning after Holy Mass, I took our Lord in the Eucharist to a few souls in the Nursing Home and had a conversation with an elderly friend of mine named Lilly, who is also a professed member of my Carmelite family.

We spoke about the topic of New Evangelization to family, and I had expressed to her that the only way anyone would ever listen to me, in my own family or home, was if I were dead. After leaving her, I prayed and realized I am dead to them. The person they knew no longer exists and they still won’t listen.

I arrived at home and the mail man had come. I noticed two packages and brought them in without even looking to see who they were addressed for. I assumed they were for my daughter and husband. As I was placing them on the table, I noticed my name on one of them. The return address was my sister whom I don’t talk to much anymore. I opened the package and cried when I seen what it was. Here in a package addressed to me was a message never intended for me, but for all my brothers and sisters who have left the faith. Directly from my dad.

Inside the box I found my dad’s First Holy Communion Certificate dated May 21, 1936 along with his personal prayer book. I read the letter attached from my sister which stated, she had found these in an envelop with my dad’s personal items, marked specifically, “Important Papers”. I knew just how important they are but unfortunately, my sister didn’t understand who they were meant for. This package was a direct message from my dad to my brothers and sisters who had left the faith. The “Important Paper” with your name on it. Remember YOUR Baptism. Remember YOUR First Holy Communion. Remember YOUR Confirmation. Remember OUR Lord. Remember OUR First Love. Return to Him. There is nothing else on the face of the earth more important than our faith. I also knew my dad needed me share this with them. They refuse to listen to me, I pray they listen to him. I pray they return to our Lord also. I pray all my Catholic Family return back home to Him, with their entire heart, mind, soul and strength. There is no greater Love than His for you. Repent. The door is open. Homecoming is just one confession away. I love you and I pray for all my brothers and sisters. St. Constantine the Great, pray for us.

All praise, glory and honor to our Lord, Jesus Christ. Amen.

EDIT TO ADD: After I had written this today, a tweet came across from the USCCB that just filled me with our Lord’s love.

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From tonight’s Divine Office: Evening Prayer

“Listen, O daughter, give ear to my words:
forget your own people and your father’s house.
So will the king desire your beauty:
He is your lord, pay homage to him.”

9DaysForLife reflection HERE 

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Forgiveness And Family Reconciliation

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Very timely pondering from my retreat which took place on April 15 through the 17 that truly needs to be shared. May it bring healing to many.

Forgiveness and Family Reconciliation

[Adapted and reorganized from personal notes from a talk given by Fr. Peter Mary on 16 April 2016 as part of a retreat given at the El Carmelo Retreat House in Redlands, California.]

Question:

Do I have someone I need to forgive? Do I need to forgive myself?

How do I begin the process of forgiveness?

We are obligated to be merciful because God was merciful to us first.

Repay God’s mercy to us by being merciful to others.

The Lord’s Prayer (Mt 6:5-15) is explicit. Our forgiveness from the Father is conditioned upon our forgiveness of others.

St. Teresa of Avila’s Way of Perfection (chap. 36).

Defining Forgiveness:

What Forgiveness Is:

Forgiveness is act of will and intellect.

Forgiveness is a process which takes time and practice. That’s why it seems hard.

Forgiveness is a free gift.

It does not depend upon the actions or response of the offender.

It is distinct from reconciliation, a further step, which includes the offender.

What Forgiveness Is Not:

Forgiveness is separate from any need to challenge the offender’s destructive behavior.

Forgiveness does not guarantee we forget.

Forgiveness does not remove the pain.

Fruits of Forgiveness:

Forgiving leads to joyful living and peace.

Not forgiving leads to other problems.

It can lead to loneliness and isolation due to an inability to trust others.

It can destroy clear thinking.

It can destroy physical and mental health. The body and mind are connected.

Recognizing Who to forgive:

Consider the people within your own family.

Consider the people you need to forgive.

Consider the people who annoy you.

It is not possible to completely avoid people who annoy us. Trying to ignore them leads to loneliness and isolation.

We need to transform the annoyances.

Principles for Practicing Forgiveness:

Recognize you could be wrong or have misunderstood.

Take into account the difficulties the offender might have had in their life.

Weak offenders may be incapable of forgiving. Forgiveness does not depend upon the offender reciprocating.

Be careful not to limit forgiveness by placing conditions.

Recall how Jesus embraced the pain of his passion and the cross.

Good can come out of evil especially if we imitate the cross. We need to transform evil. (purification of memories is dealt by St John of the Cross in the Ascent.)

Forgive the offender immediately.

Depend upon God’s love to empower your forgiveness.

Nine Practices to Develop Forgiveness:

1. Pray for those you need to forgive.

2. Pray for your ability to forgive.

3. Receive regular confession in gratitude for God’s mercy on you.

4. Receive regular reception of the Eucharist for God’s mercy to be present within you.

5. Become more aware of a tendency to see only the bad in people and strive to see the good.

6. Imagine yourself into the other person’s situation and the pain and hurt they may have felt.

7. Avoid unreasonable expectations of yourself and others.

8. Be honest about yourself that you could be wrong.

9. Examine your conscience to recognize progress.

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Polls

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The only polls that ever mattered, or will…. Hint – Stick with the One in the center.

For through the law I died to the law, that I might live for God. I have been crucified with Christ; yet I live, no longer I, but Christ lives in me; insofar as I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God who has loved me and given himself up for me.

 

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JOY And Thanksgiving

Lights

 

An estimated 2 million people took part in the procession at the Eucharistic Congress.

I pray for all souls to bring our Lord back, in such splendor, into your hearts.

My Lord and my God

Words can not describe the JOY in my heart and soul, watching the video below.

 

For the full story: CLICK HERE

 

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9 Days For Life – Day 9

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For today’s Novena, please CLICK HERE

Life is worth living

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9 Days For Life – Day 7

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For today’s Novena please CLICK LINK
The only healing I have found, is through our Lord Jesus Christ and the much needed Sacraments He gave to us to act on and grab hold of the mercy and forgiveness He is offering to each and every soul on earth.

Please read my story here, originally written on JANUARY 23, 2012. Slipping Away – Post Abortion Syndrome

There is a bit of a discussion of late in regards to the graphic images being used of the innocent children taken through abortion. If you have read the link I posted in regards to my story, you will understand that seeing the images of aborted children is horrific. What is more horrific, is not seeing them at all in public, and still seeing them in every day actions. It brings to light the grim reality of what we are doing.

I will post a comment I made yesterday, before I seen what today’s Novena contained. There is a Light in the dark.

Ask yourself, what would happen if we removed the graphic image of our Lord Crucified from our faith because it was to gruesome? What does that image of our Lord invoke? What does the thought of His battered and bruised body cause us to do? Repent. The second we remove Christ Crucified from our worship is the second its no longer Him and He is reduced to a sanitized idea of what He did for us. Its no different for the smallest among us. The reality’s of abortion have been removed from society and its turned into a sanitized idea, no longer seen as the murder of an innocent child. They need to be seen and heard in entirety for the reality to set in. I am post abortive. Before the images came to be used, I would see them anyway as I struggled from time to time with the sin I had committed as I see it now as a way for our Lord to being me to repent deeper and understand the MERCY He is offering through His forgiveness. The images are not doing a disservice nor are they a lack of respect for the children taken. By ending Abortion completely and making it unthinkable to do, they give glory to our Lord for the slaughter of the innocence finally ending.

Lord, I remember You Crucified as I see the children of abortion. May their images bring an end to the slaughter of the least among us. May they bring about repentance to the providers and to all effected by abortion. May these same souls feel the gentleness and compassion in your healing touch and they reach out in need for You. Amen

The USCCB has further links on this Novena for Help and Healing

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9 Days For Life – Day 6

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For today’s Novena please CLICK LINK

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Lord Jesus Christ, Spouse of my soul, I ask You through the intercession of St. Agnes to keep my soul undefiled, from all sins of the flesh, sins against Your precious Body and Blood, that have inundated the world in which we are only in exile for a short while, for the purpose of pleasing You for all eternity; I ask also for the protection of the children, whom You O Lord have given to me as innocent little souls, for that same protection to all my family, therefor oh Spouse of my soul, to bring into this world a stronger Culture of Life in which the protection of innocence of all in exile is obtained. St. Agnes, patron of young girls, chastity, rape survivors, and the Children of Mary, pray for us. Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on us all, hear us crying out to you O Lord for your Merciful healing from all that displeases Thee. Amen

(Via Catholic OnLine) Prayer for the Virtue of Chastity

Jesus, Fortress of mankind, You are Immaculate as God and Man! Bless me with Your infinite graces, That I may remain in a state of purity. Strengthen my body, spirit and soul To continually reflect Your chastity. Protect my soul in its daily struggles, Guiding it to ponder on Your Godliness. Defend me from the forces of evil, Those that seek to acquire my soul: I am truly Yours forever and ever. Holy is my King, the Conqueror of sin!

Overcoming Pornography Addiction

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9 Days For Life – Day 5

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For today’s Novena, please CLICK LINK

As a survivor of a violet crime, I have seen what can take place to a person first hand, who has fallen deeply into things that carry no respect for self, nor others through actions that no human being with the fear of God could ever carry out. It was by the grace of our Lord that I survived, and by the grace of our Lord that I could forgive and move closer to Him, as I know it was Him who carried me out and through it. It is that same grace today that I praise Him. It is that same grace He offers to ALL of us, to be accepted or denied. Forgiveness does not mean we allow violent criminals to walk free from the harm they have caused, but allows the healing of that crime that was committed to begin.

I can never support the death penalty as it does not open a door for repentance in this life, for the survivor or the criminal. Nor does taking the life of another take away the harm, pain and suffering it has caused. It happened and I have to live with it. The only recourse, be it for me or them, is to forgive them so both can keep walking with the same ability to turn toward our Lord and seek forgiveness through repentance. It is not for me to ponder nor spend any time worrying if my attacker has repented or not, as we both, one day will have to face our Lord. I pray for my attacker as I pray for everyone. “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.”

I have written about my attack and the early aftermath here. Please read: The Power Of Forgiveness

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Outrage And Offending

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The words we don’t hear enough today, backed up by action. “I’m sorry” and “I forgive you”.

The entire world today seems to be on an “Escalator”. The anger and outrage at everything is so thick, you can see it like a fog rolling in, forgetting that not every “escalator” goes up when we get on.

Newton’s Third Law: For every action there is an equal and opposite re-action. Looking at this today in society, one can easily assess that for every action there is blown out of proportion over re-action.

“You offended me” is the phrase of the day and one that can be only followed by “I’m calling my attorneys”. Or, “You don’t deserve to live because you offended me”. That last line can be seen from the gang ridden streets of Chicago all the way to the Middle East, as its no different. Society as a whole, is staring to mimic a perpetual sandbox fight of six year olds in which everyone throws their sucker in the sand and stomps away to get the older brother to beat up the perceived evil kid who called someone a name or dare to knock down a “sand castle” created.

To be “Offended” is to be resentful or annoyed, typically as a result of a perceived insult. What is behind that? Pride. A deep rooted, nasty, maggoty pride that needs to be cut out completely. To do this takes humility.

When I hear souls today try to use the key trigger words like, Crusades, Molestation by Priests, Inquisition and the anti-Catholic mantra of the day, as a means of looking for anything they can grasp, as a means to make the entire faith look bad, or offend me personally, I pity them for the simple fact of what they can not see, that my faith isn’t based on the mistakes nor sins, little or big, of anyone. My faith is built on and in, the Love that Jesus Christ has for us all. On His cross, the words that left His lips, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”.

What comes with forgiveness? Forgiveness is the biggest, baddest weapon on the face of this earth. There is nothing stronger then it when it is given for and out of love for the other. It cuts to the heart of the problem and allows two souls to speak and not scream. It immediately deescalates all situations in which the soul can be placed in when it is received from the party it is given to. When it is not received, the soul giving it, not only places it firmly in our Lords hands, but receives the peace needed from our Lord to continue without any need for the receiver to acknowledge the forgiveness given as the soul understand it has done all it could and peace is achieved.

May our Lord bring His peace this Christmas, to all who seek it, through humility, in saying we are sorry, showing we are sorry and accepting the forgiveness that is given.

Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, pray for us

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No Sting

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This morning I am filled with a peace that only our Lord can give and I am grateful. This wonderful peace today is born from knowing that no matter what may come, in Christ, nothing can take away the JOY of knowing He is Lord. “Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.”

Last night, I was experiencing some great pain from what ever is going on inside my body and was troubled to see how my not being able to carry out some duties as mom and wife, was starting to weigh on my husband. My children filled the gap between us that was growing wider, with arguing about frivolous things. As I called for peace in this home, no one but our Lord heard my cry.

I was informed by my doctor that the blood work was back and they were ruling out anything wrong (cancer or disease) with my liver and pancreas, which to me, was great news. However, they have not ruled out a penetrating ulcer, which makes total sense with the amount of anti-inflammatory medicine I take for my spinal issues. Ulcer penetration is a complication in which the ulcer erodes through the intestinal wall without digestive fluid leaking into the abdomen. Instead, the ulcer penetrates into an adjoining organ, such as the pancreas or liver. The signs of penetration are more severe pain without rhythmicity or periodicity, and the spread of the pain to the lower back.

Next Tuesday, I have an appointment to find out more as more tests are scheduled. In the mean time, I have to ignore the pain and suffering because other things need attention. My children and my husband. That doesn’t mean our Lord is ignoring me. On the contrary, I am finding Him with me, every second as my pain and suffering is joined to His. As He is giving me His attention, I find it crucial now, to give that same attention to them.

No one on earth could ever understand fully, the position, place and condition a soul is in,nor the experiences, good and bad, they are going through completely, except our Lord. Its as if its just Him and me now, as I am sure its always been but I just couldn’t see it, walking through this entire experience, forgetting self and trying to bring peace in this home, in this family that just can’t see what is going on here. When I can see this, I can see my children and husband in the Light. I can understand more, the things that they can’t understand yet. Rather than become distant and uncaring to their needs, I am more and more careful in regards to how I attend to them. Mercy being the key. As our Lord pours His mercy on me, I am just a funnel in which that same mercy pours down into this home, on to my husband and children. Even when it is not reciprocated from them, as they are vessels also, that will hold it, until He determines when they shall need and use it through remembering if they choose through free will to do so with His grace. That is the peace and joy I have today. It is His, our Lords.

Pondering, “What you sow is not brought to life unless it dies.” Oh how true this is.

Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?”

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Official Hymn For The Year Of Mercy

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The Vatican has announced the official hymn for the Jubilee Year of Mercy – See Here

Misericordes sicut Pater

Misericordes sicut Pater! [from Luke 6:36, the official motto of the Jubilee]

1. We give thanks to the Father, for he is good [from Psalm 135:6]
in aeternum mercy eius
He created the world with wisdom
in aeternum mercy eius
He leads his people in history
in aeternum mercy eius
He forgives and welcomes His children [from Luke 15]
in aeternum mercy eius

2. Let us give thanks to the Son, Light of the nations
in aeternum mercy eius
He loved us with a heart of flesh [from John 15:12]
in aeternum mercy eius
we receive from Him, to Him we give ourselves
in aeternum mercy eius
the heart to open to those who hunger and thirst [from Matthew 25,31ss]
in aeternum mercy eius
Misericordes sicut Pater!
Misericordes sicut Pater!

3. We ask the Spirit the seven holy gifts
in aeternum mercy eius
source of all good, sweet relief
in aeternum mercy eius
comforted by Him, offer comfort [from John 15: 26-27]
in aeternum mercy eius
I love hopes and endures all things [from 1 Cor 13.7]
in aeternum mercy eius

4. We call for peace to the God of all peace
in aeternum mercy eius
the earth awaits the gospel of the Kingdom [from Matthew 24,14]
in aeternum mercy eius
grace and joy to those who love and forgive
in aeternum mercy eius
will be the new heavens and the earth [from Revelation 21.1]
in aeternum mercy eius
Misericordes sicut Pater!

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Forgiveness Sunday

sinner

“Forgive me, a sinner.”

Today is Forgiveness Sunday. I forgive EVERYONE in my life from conception and in advance, through natural death who may or has inflicted any harm on me. I hope you can forgive me as well if I have hurt you in any way.

With the 40 days of lent approaching, what a great way to start the journey. May God have mercy on us all.

Burying the Proverbial Hatchet

Forgiving people when they apologize is one thing; but have you ever tried to forgive someone who has hurt you and never shown any remorse? Not so easy, is it? It’s tough to bury that hatchet.

Even after years spent developing a relationship, a single harsh statement or thoughtless act can destroy everything we feel for that person. We forget the good and play out bitter, vindictive scenarios in our minds.

When someone hurts us, we have choices. We can go our separate ways and never talk again. We can live with the anger. We can bear grudges, nurse hate, and seek revenge. We can pretend everything is fine and just bury our feelings. Or we can face the person and talk things through … and then forgive.

Of course, the last choice is the healthy one. Even if the person who wronged you refuses to change or take responsibility, you can still let go of pride and bring closure and healing – for your own sake.

Forgetting is the hardest part of forgiving. We bury the hatchet; but when we leave the handle sticking out of the ground, we’re just giving the pain permission to continue cutting us. Bury the handle! Cancel the debt! This is the only way to experience freedom.
By Fr. Robert M. Pipta, Holy Angels Byzantine Catholic Church, San Diego CA.

Master, Teacher of wisdom, Bestower of virtue, You teach the thoughtless and protect the poor: Strengthen and enlighten my heart. Word of the Father, Let me not restrain my mouth from crying to you: Have mercy on me, a transgressor, O merciful Lord!

The Fourth Sunday of the Triodion Period: Sunday of Forgiveness (Cheesefare Sunday)

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Our Lord’s Shoulder

Passion of The Christ

Our Lord’s precious shoulder that carries the weight not just of our sins, but of the entire world in love. How strong He is.

2 Corinthians 12:9-10

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Last night I was in a lot of physical pain. I have osteoarthritis along with degenerative disks in my back and neck. Add a pinched nerve and well, it’s just painful at times to do basic things. As I prayed last night, I focused on the our Lord’s painful shoulder wound. How could I not join my suffering with His when His is the only suffering there truly is. I offered it up to Him.

It is related in the annals of Clairvaux that St. Bernard asked our Lord which was His greatest unrecorded suffering, and Our Lord answered: “I had on My Shoulder, while I bore My Cross on the Way of Sorrows, a grievous Wound, which was more painful than the others, and which is not recorded by men. Honor this wound with thy devotion, and I will grant thee whatsoever thou dost ask through its virtue and merit. And in regard to all those who shall venerate this Wound, I will remit to them all their venial sins, and will no longer remember their mortal sins.”

When I awoke this morning, I had no pain what so ever. I hadn’t taken any medication before heading to bed. My bed is not what you would call comfortable in any way. I was full of joy and my husband even asked me what I was so happy about. HA! All I could say was, God is Wonderful and He just does that.

The pain I have is much less intense today, especially when I focus on Him and the weight His precious shoulder continues to carry today. When I feel the physical pain, I am reminded of the mental anguish and physical pain my sins have caused Him. I never want to be the cause of that pain to anyone ever again.

The prayer:

O Loving Jesus, meek Lamb of God, I miserable sinner, salute and worship the most Sacred Wound of Thy Shoulder on which Thou didst bear Thy heavy Cross, which so tore Thy flesh and laid bare Thy Bones as to inflict on Thee an anguish greater than any other wound of Thy Most Blessed Body. I adore Thee, O Jesus most sorrowful; I praise and glorify Thee, and give Thee thanks for this most sacred and painful Wound, beseeching Thee by that exceeding pain, and by the crushing burden of Thy heavy Cross to be merciful to me, a sinner, to forgive me all my mortal and venial sins, and to lead me on towards Heaven along the Way of Thy Cross. Amen

One Our Father and three Hail Marys following the above paryer.

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The Road

One of the biggest mistakes we can make on the road back home to our Lord, is to think for even a second, I was put here to “Protect” God. There is a huge difference between admonishing the sinner and protecting God. How often we ponder the Crucifixion of our Lord and think, I would have done something to stop that if I were there! We crucify our Lord over and over again, every time we sin. Just as the world does. The difference between the two is that the soul in love with our Lord understands He rose from the dead, and gave his life that we can be forgiven. It was God’s will. His forgiveness is always on the table, free for the taking like Dad’s car keys, but we must seek Him, and ask for it. “I absolve you of your sins” is the definitive yes. We know being His children, we we take His forgiveness and go into the world, its not to say we wont get scratches on His “car” or in worse cases, crash it through our sinfulness. We will. But He still allows us to take it. When we take it and we are not responsible, the damage comes quick. Sometimes before we even leave the driveway or get the key in the ignition. We must understand that His forgiveness came at a price and to be responsible for any “damage” that occurs after to this brand new car is our own fault. The worldly soul doesn’t ask but assumes its okay to take the car, takes it and the motor burns out because he didn’t realize the “car” needed more oil and a new filter. Prayer is the oil that fills our lamps. The new filter can be found in confession. If the filter is plugged with sin, nothing can get through to the rest of the motor.

God wants us to take His forgiveness, but to be careful, not to be afraid and never leave the car in fear it may become damaged, but rather to do what we need to accomplish the tasks He asked us to perform for Him.

When we make the mistake of thinking we can protect God, we are acting just as Simon Peter did in regards to our Lord and the will of God, that He should die for our sins and be raised on the third day. When Jesus predicts His death, “Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you! Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.” Parking the car, hands on the steering wheel, sitting inside not doing a thing God asked of us.

When we think we are to protect God, we are denying the very fact He is God and does not need our protection. From anything or anyone. His will be done, no matter how painful we know it will be for us and the one committing the sin, in order that His plans are solidified. Not ours. Later on we see where St. Peter denied Christ three times. In the world we live, while we are in the “Spirit” we see the crimes (sins) being committed against God and far to often believe we need to protect God, when the realization is, we need just not to deny Him and admonish the sinner. Allowing God to do the job that needs to be done. Be it in any way He wills. Our job is to present the TRUTH at every turn. When we choose not to, we are committing the sin of omission and are just as guilty as the one we are watching fall into the pit of sin. “Omission” is the failure to do something one can and ought to do. If this happens advertently and freely a sin is committed. Some times, when we think we are protecting God, we tend to do to much and start blaming and pointing fingers rather then simply correcting the sinner with truth thinking we are doing good. This is the “Protecting” of God that I am speaking about. The truth is, when placed in this position we are actually to be protecting ourselves against doing this. “Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” Deny yourself, not God. God still loves the sinner as much as He loves you and His will is to bring both of us home. Not one over the other. We are called to protect God’s (children) and the seeds we are sowing in them, He will make grow. If any damage is done to the “car” on the trip, tell Him right away. He can fix that.

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The Gate

From today’s Gospel reading of John 10:1-10

“I am the gate.
Anyone who enters through me will be safe:
he will go freely in and out
and be sure of finding pasture.”

In pondering this specific passage this morning, I am reminded of the Sacrament of Penance and our Lords “Forgiveness”. Not only is it there to cleanse the souls who have been away from the Church for many years, but also for all, in exile, because we walk out of “The Gate” many times, into this world surrounded by evil, only to run back in through “The Gate” to the refuge of Our Lord. Like new born chicks rush under the wing of their mother for protection.

Once the soul realizes the “Gate” will never lock it out, while in exile, the gift of peace and joy is revealed. The “Gate” is locked shut with the “Sheep” safe inside, when the soul is no longer in exile as long as the “Sheep” returns home before that time comes. The soul then strives for perfection for God and not self. That is why it is SO important to lead a Holy Life in Christ all the days in “Exile”. Because one never knows when his Master will call him home.

One beautiful personal message I received today at Mass was four little words, that carry the weight of the world for me. “I love you, anyway”. So many times have I ran through “The Gate” without even stopping to appreciate how beautiful “The Gate” is and cherish “The Gate” for being there. There is where the joy and peace can be found.

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Having A Vision For God

How can I, if I am a true follower of Christ, continue to focus on the hate others have for me rather then the love, mercy and forgiveness our Lord has for all of us? Just as He has forgiven me, and continues to do so daily, He also extends to all who seek Him.When we spend our time focusing on the hate others have, be it for us, or for others and mirror it to Jesus Christs mission, you can see a contradiction of what He asks of us. Imagine the entire mission of our Lord being spent in self pity rather then of self sacrifice. His entire message becomes lost and therefor so do we. We do not know if our enemies are in search of Him or not, with their hearts. We do know, Christ is in search of them.

“If we turn away from evil out of fear of punishment, we are in the position of slaves. If we pursue the enticement of wages, we resemble mercenaries. Finally if we obey for the sake of the good itself and out of love for him who commands we are in the position of children”

This focus on others we have is born of fear for self, rather then loss of God, or “Fear of the Lord”. When we face the fears we have of others such as: I am not comfortable to extend a hand to those who I do not understand, who do not share my belief, who are of a different background, or fill in the blank. Along with those who truly are trying to kill us. In the particular case of the ones without a doubt, who ARE trying to kill us, we must STILL extend the spiritual hand by truly living the faith. We do not understand and can not comprehend what God’s plan for our enemies is, we do know His love for them is equal to the love he has for us and when we have a “Vision” of what WE want for God, in regards to our enemies, the door to self sacrifice can and will be opened. We have to ask OURSELVES, “Do I want my enemies to share in the eternal life with Christ? Or is my “Vision” for God in regards to my enemies eternal damnation?

If we do this, we must understand, our actions will spark the flame of the Holy Spirit in each and every human being, it is then up to us, to act on that flame, rather then extinguish it. Just as Saint Paul (Saul) before his conversion, believed he was doing the work of God, by rounding up ALL the Christians, to be executed, so are the enemies we face, not always in the physical sense, but in the spiritual sense. BUT we add to this misunderstanding by doing exactly as they do by NOT loving them and not trusting in our Lord enough to know, He is all seeing, all knowing and all merciful.. Feeding “Pride” rather then nurturing humility. Be it in our own homes, which I call the unknown enemy, or the known enemies seeking to destroy the entire fabric of our Christian faith. To read what our Lord expects of us, we can look to His “Sermon on the Mount” Matthew 5

We all want to live in peace. The problem is, our ideas of peace, are all different. We know when Christ returns, He will bring TRUE peace with Him, to all of us, together with our enemies, if we are ready or not. The key is to be ready.

“Hope, O my soul, hope. You know neither the day nor the hour. Watch carefully, for everything passes quickly, even though your impatience makes doubtful what is certain, and turns a very short time into a long one. Dream that the more you struggle, the more you prove the love that you bear your God, and the more you will rejoice one day with your Beloved, in a happiness and rapture that can never end.”

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