Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Joy through Weakness

 We all have those days when we get discouraged. When we first begin to practice the virtue of humility, we begin to see how weak we are on our own and can get disheartened. But there must be a solution to all this sorrow. The solution is confidence in God.

Our weakness actually gives God glory! When we admit how weak we are, we have to pair our realization with the fact that God’s strength can lift us out of these weaknesses. Even the occasions that we fall and sin, if we get back up and ask God for help, how much glory we give Him! Our Lord once told Sister Josepha Menendez that when a soul sins, then humbles himself in the presence of God, that soul gives more glory to God than if he hadn’t sinned at all. So do not dwell on how weak you are, dwell on how great God is!

This discouragement can also interfere with our God given talents. If we think we’re so miserable, how are we supposed to think of the good in us? Do we just dismiss them? No, we attribute them to God. We are nothing on our own, but with God we are His talented creatures. God created us to reflect Him, so let us do so! Let us proclaim the goodness and gifts of God on high!


Therefore, place your trust in God. A good practice St. Francis de Sales taught was, during the day, imagine yourself in a scene with Jesus. It could be in the manger at Bethlehem, the Garden of Gethsemane, even Mount Calvary.  Place yourself trustfully in His presence, rest your mind, and ask for all the graces your soul is in need of. This practice gives strength to the soul and glory to God. Ask Him to teach you to be humble and to become the saint He made you to be! Always remember, Jesus fell three times while He carried his cross so He could merit the strength you would need to get up, once, twice, even three times when you fall from weakness. God bless you all!

Thursday, 13 March 2014

"Who am I to Judge?" - A Video Response

I found a very good video on Youtube and thought I would post it in response to Pope Francis' words, "Who am I to judge?"

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Meditation

A great practice that has been somewhat lost in our society is the practice of meditation. With meditation comes silence, a great enemy in our society. Meditation is the threshold from this earth to the world of eternity, to the knowledge of God, to the graces we need. St. Francis de Sales in “Introduction to the Devout life,” a book I greatly recommend, gives us a method to meditation.

First, kneel down in a quiet room, place yourself in the presence of God, meditating on His infinite goodness and almighty power. Then, think of your utter nothingness, comparing yourself to God, and how even though you are so weak, God still wants to draw you to His heart.

After this process, you can move on to meditation. You can meditate on a scene from Jesus’ life, a Bible quote, anything that moves your soul to the things of God. If you lose interest in the topic, move on to another until you find something that interests your soul. You can do this for 15-30 minutes.

Once your meditation is completed, make resolutions for your daily life that relate to your meditation. But instead of making empty resolutions like you make at New Years, be firm in your resolutions and ask God for the strength. Also, ask for the intercession of Our Blessed Mother and the Angels and Saints, and they will definitely help you.

St. Francis de Sales finally suggests finishing the meditation with an Our Father, a Hail Mary, and a Thanksgiving prayer. Your thanksgiving prayer could go like this if you wish:

“I offer the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary to the Eternal Father, the Eternal Son, and the Eternal Holy Ghost, one God, my beloved Mother Mary, and all the holy angels and saint, especially my patron saints and my guardian angel, in thanksgiving for all the graces that God has given me in this meditation.”

You can add on to this prayer, such as not only offering the hearts of Jesus and 
Mary, but the Holy Face of Jesus, the Precious Blood of Jesus by which you were saved and the like. But let not your prayers be only words. If you think you need to spend your thanksgiving in silence, so be it! God will guide you and help you to perfect this holy time.


And so, to those that meditate and begin to meditate hereon, I wish you all of God’s blessings and inspirations. Meditation truly elevates the soul and reveals to it truths and consolations that it may not have found outside of meditation. God bless and Our Lady protect you all!

Saturday, 8 March 2014

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

The Beginning of Lent

Today begins the season of Lent. Catholics often think of Lent as a very sad, hard time. But Lent is not only sorrowful, but a time of great compassion and reparation. In these next few days, Our Lord reveals to us His infinite love, His unending mercy, and His tender care towards us. 


During Lent, Our Lord shows us that we are certainly not alone on this earth and that anything we ever have to suffer, He has suffered as well. Have you been abandoned by your friends? Jesus was betrayed by Judas for you. Have you been overwhelmed with stress and discouragement? Jesus cried and shed blood in the Garden of Gethsemane. Have you been accused wrongly, abused, pushed over the limit? Jesus did all this for you! And just to prove that He would do more if he could, after He died, the soldiers pierced His heart and Jesus shed the last drops of blood in His body for you. How could we ever feel lonely when we have such a Friend!


Every moment in Lent Christ is calling you, telling you to turn from your ways and live a holy life. What more could He do to prove His love? I found it very eye opening to read "The Corporal Passion of Jesus," an article written by a doctor, who analysed the Passion from a medical point of view. You begin to really see what Our Lord did for us. Please read it here: http://www.toolan.com/liz/passion.html. The saints also had many things to say about the Passion: 


"He who desires", says St. Bonaventure, "to go on advancing from virtue to virtue, from grace to grace, should meditate continually on the Passion of Jesus." And he adds that "there is no practice more profitable for the entire sanctification of the soul than the frequent meditation of the sufferings of Jesus Christ."
St. Augustine said that a single tear shed at the remembrance of the Passion of Jesus is worth more than a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, or a year of fasting on bread and water.
"The holy sufferings of Jesus is a sea of sorrows, but it is also a sea of love. Ask the Lord to teach you to fish in this sea. Immerse yourself in it, and, no matter how deeply you go, you will never reach the bottom. Allow yourself to be penetrated with love and sorrow. In this way you will make the sufferings of the gentle Jesus your own. Fish for the pearls of the virtues of Jesus. This holy fishing is done without words." - St. Paul of the Cross

"In the passion of our blessed Saviour, six things chiefly are to be meditated upon. First, the bitterness of his sorrow, that we may compassionate with him.  Secondly, the greatness of our sins, which were the cause of his torments, that we may abhor them. Thirdly, the greatness of the benefit, that we may be grateful for it. Fourthly, the excellency of the divine charity and bounty therein manifested, that we may love him more fervently. Fifthly, the conveniency of the mystery, that we may be drawn to admiration of it. Lastly, the multiplicity of virtues of our blessed Saviour which did shine in this stupendous mystery, that we may partly imitate and partly admire them; wherefore, in the midst of these meditations, let us sometimes compassionate with our blessed Saviour in the extremity of his sorrows; extreme indeed, both by reason of the tenderness of his body, as also, for the great affection he bore unto our souls."
"He did suffer them without any manner of consolation, as we shall speak hereafter in its proper place. Sometimes let us stir up in ourselves compunction for our sins, which were the cause of his great sufferings. Sometimes let us kindle in our souls an ardent affection, considering his great affection towards us, which upon the cross he declared and manifested to the whole world. And the benefit which he bestowed upon us in his passion, because he bought us with the inestimable price of his precious blood, of which only, we reap the benefit and commodity." - St. Peter of Alcantara
"The death and passion of Our Lord is the sweetest and most constraining motive that can animate our hearts in this mortal life... so, in the glory of heaven above, next to the Divine goodness known and considered in itself, Our Saviour's death shall most powerfully ravish the blessed spirits in the loving of God." - St. Francis de Sales

So let us spend these next days making many sacrifices and acts of repentance and reparation. We must die to ourselves if we want to resurrect with Christ. May God pour forth torrents of hope and compassion in your soul this Lent, for what a great time of grace it is!


The Passion of the Christ is a classic to watch in Lent. Please watch:


Sunday, 2 March 2014

The Wonder of Sanctifying Grace

When we think of the words sanctifying grace, we often just think of the written definition in our catechism book. After learning it is God’s grace dwelling within our soul, most of the time it ends there. I would like to share with you some great thoughts about sanctifying grace that I have found in the book, “He Dwells in Your Soul,” by Bede Jarrett.

God’s Nearness towards Us – When we are in sanctifying grace, God is in the core of our being. Of course He is everywhere, but He is especially present within our souls when we are in the state of grace. The book says that, “In my prayers, in my troubles, in my temptations, I have to turn to God, not without, but within; not to someone above or beneath me, supporting me, but right at the core of my being.” So this union between our souls and God is like the union in the Holy Eucharist. The union between our souls and Our Lord in Holy Communion is a great blessing and is the greatest union we can have with Him on earth, but when our souls are in the state of grace, the Blessed Trinity is constantly, at every moment, dwelling in our souls. He is our closest friend, watching and protecting us. Who shall we fear when we have the almighty God within our soul?

Grace gives Us Faith – On our own, we have an intellect and reason. With this intellect we can prove that God exists. But with sanctifying grace, we are given the gift of Faith. Faith gives us the ability to accept the truths of God, because God said them, who can neither deceive nor be deceived. The books states that, “I do not deduce by faith what God is like, but I know what He is like from His description of Himself.” In Romans, Chapter 8 Verse 16, it speaks of Faith, “For the Spirit Himself giveth testimony to our spirit that we are the sons of God.”

Faith leads to Love – When we have knowledge of that which is good, we begin to love it. Faith leads us to something even greater – love. When a souls returns love to God, he enters friendship with Him. Friendship is not what we can get out of the other person, but what we can give because we love. In God loving us, who dwells within our soul with an infinite love, He gives us all that we need, not because He needs us, but because He loves us and desires to reflect His infinite goodness through us.

A Foretaste of Heaven – The only difference between our souls now when we are in sanctifying grace and in heaven is merely accidental. It is as if a veil is lifted from something we have always possessed. The book states that, “When I step outside the confessional after due repentance and the absolution of the priest, I am in a state of grace. At once, then, this blessed union takes effect. Within me is the Holy Spirit, dwelling there – sent, given. As the object of knowledge, He can be experienced by me in a personal and familiar way. I can know Him even as I am known. As the object of love, He becomes my friend, stooping to my level, lifting me to His. At once, then, although still in a merely rudimentary way, the glories of my ultimate reward can dawn upon me. Even upon earth, I have already crossed the threshold of Heaven.”


What a great privilege God has given to us, to dwell within our souls! Let us contemplate this mystery, and become more aware of His loving presence every day. God bless you all and Our Lady protect!