Thursday, February 23, 2012

"Then, speaking to all, he said, 'If anyone wants to be a follower of mine, let him renounce himself and take up his cross every day and follow me." ( Luke 9:23)
This message from Today's Gospel reading is one of the most helpful to me during my times of struggle within my faith journey. It is through this that I am humbled and also directed back to the sufferings of Jesus and the Cross He carried. Through this reflection I am able to recognize the smallness of my own trials, while at the same time being made aware of the love that Jesus had for each of us. With this realization one can work fervently to mortify those things within that may take them far from God and their faith. We must recognize the importance of sacrifice and gladly take up our "Cross". In our times of difficulty, pain, toil, and confusion about "why" certain things are occurring may we look toward the Cross and trust that Jesus journeys with us and made the ultimate sacrifice for us. (C.C.)

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

A Symbol Of Our Faith. By: C.C.

Tomorrow we begin the season of Lent with Ash Wednesday. A time in which we pause and begin a reflective journey in our faith. It is a time for us as Catholics to focus on our relationship with God and note the times that we have fallen short. It is a journey toward becoming a better Catholic; a time to repent and become new in many senses. For each person this Lenten journey will be very different. Many will hold themselves accountable to more prayer time, attending Mass more often, or perhaps finally making a return to the Sacrament of confession. This day is symbolized by the marking of ashes upon our foreheads....serving as an outward sign of an inward surrender and repentance. Tonight I pray for all of you as you begin your Lenten journeys, I pray that you may grow in your relationship with Jesus and your faith. Proudly wear your ashes and let the world know "whose" you are. (C.C.)
"Lent is a season of intense prayer, fasting and concern for all those in need. It offers all Christians an opportunity to prepare for Easter by serious discernment about their lives, with particular attention to the word of God which enlightens the daily journey of all who believe." (Bl. Pope John Paul II)

Monday, February 20, 2012

Congratulations Cardinal Collins!

Here in Toronto everyone is very proud and in prayer for Cardinal Collins. One of Canada`s most recently appointed Cardinals.

Family Day Reflection. By: C.C.

"To maintain a joyful family requires much from both the parents and the children. Each member of the family has to become, in a special way, the servant of the others" (Bl. Pope John Paul II)
Today is Family Day, a holiday recognized by three provinces in Canada. Beyond receiving an extra day of Sabbath, today is a day for us to acknowledge the importance and role of family in our lives. Exceeding beyond our very own homes and families I feel called today to pause, reflect, and pray for families everywhere. I have read many things written by our Blessed Pope John Paul II and am always deeply moved by his writings on the role of family. He defintiely stressed the importance of the family being a healthy place of faith, love, and joy. Unfortunately today's society seems to have lost much of this focus. There is little emphasis on family and unity and much more attention paid to the building up of individuals, leading to the destruction of family . Maintaining a sense of unity and love within a family is crucial. The way this can be made possible is by having a strong focus on God and faith. Some of the most loving and unified families around me are those who attend Mass together and share in family prayer times. As schedules differ and commitments build there may be a loss of much quality time amongst family members. Often it seems that even sharing family meals is difficult. We must recognize the need for us to prioritize our lives and not lose sight of what/who is truly important. Bl. PJP II reminds us that to maintain a joyful family requires us to become a servant to one another, proving that the family setting is a perfect opportunity for us to live out our Catholic faith. We must respond to the way we are called to live by God, and carry that with us into our dealings with our family members. This idea of being a "servant"of the other can carry multiple meanings. At times we may simply have to fulfill household chores, and other moments we may be called to sacrifice comforts, time, and space in order to better accomodate our family members. In some of lifes more intense moments we are called to wipe tears, hold hands at hospital bedsides, and be of great comfort when it is needed. When families resemble the design that God intended for our lives there is nothing else like it in the world. There is nothing more important than time spent together, than the selfless exhange of love, than the making of memories that live on long after the Lord calls us home. No matter what our family life may look like we must hold tightly to our Lord and pray for His guidance to help us create the joy within our families that He wills us to have. Lord, Today I pray for families everywhere. May every person be able to experience love, joy, and peace within their family atmosphere. Lord provide a feeling of family for those who feel alone and unloved, may Your warmth and care surround them each and everyday. I pray tonight that families everywhere recognize the need for Jesus within their lives. Holy Family interceed for us within our own homes, may we strive to serve one another each day with sacrifice. Bless those who are far away from their families and missing them each day. Lord care for our Priests and those in religious order may they constantly feel a part of each family that they serve. May every family be open to life, understanding the importance of serving the Lord through the gift of children. Provide us with the strength to love selflessly, the will to forgive, and a heart that longs to be like the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Amen. (C.C)
Happy Family Day to all!

Friday, February 17, 2012

"The greatest fault we commit in our prayers, in our occupations and in our setbacks is the lack of confidence in God. This is the reason why we fail to receive from the Divine Goodness the help we deserve and ask for. " (St. Francis DeSales)

Faith and Works. By: C.C

"You see now that it is by deeds, and not only by believing, that someone is justified. As a body without a spirit is dead, so is faith without deeds." (James 2:24-26)
The Book of James is one that I can read over and over again without ever tiring. I can not tell you how over joyed I have been at each evening Mass this week....given that the readings have been from The Book of James. As I sat in Church tonight and reflected upon the first reading, I could not help but feel a deep connection to my own life. I sat in quiet thought and tried to think of the ways in which I extend my faith beyond words, thoughts, and feelings. Do deeds accompany my faith? How can I be more like Abraham, putting faith toward the Lord into my actions and deeds? I am sure that this Scripture passage can be interpreted many ways. Each person will draw their own conclusions and sentiments as to what deeds and actions the Lord is calling them towards to be "justified". Personally I feel that our deeds from faith exceed those of service towards others that are publicly displayed. We are called to commit good deeds even when others are not watching. We must examine our hearts to make sure that the deeds we perform are for His glory and not our own. Are we working through and with faith? These are questions that we must often ask ourselves. As we come to reflect upon these few words I have shared from today's reading, one may also begin to realize that faith without works is meaningless. What good is believing in the Lord if there is little action and reflection of His light through our lives? Do we show by our deeds that we believe? Our faith and our actions must be intertwined so that those looking in at our lives can see that we are believers in Christ...responding to our call to become Saints. Lord provide us with the clarity and understanding of our faith so that we are able to recognize the need for "works". Let us humble ourselves and serve You by serving others in any way that we may be called to. Lord thank You for Your unchanging love and for all of the blessings that You give. Guide us each day to deepen our relationship with You and respond to the daily call. May all of our deeds and actions be those that reflect our faith and Your light, love, peace, joy, and sacrifice. May the Holy Spirit fill us with a fire for our faith that will fuel everything we do in our days. Keep us protected Lord and enable us to do good deeds even in times that seem difficult. us to see that "it is by deeds, and not only by believing, that someone is justified." Amen. (C.C.)

Purity. By: C.C.

"To be pure, to remain pure, can only come at a price, the price of knowing God and loving him enough to do his will. He will always give us the strength we need to keep purity as something as beautiful for him."--Blessed Mother Teresa

I spent some time in prayer reflecting upon purity. This is a virtue that I take quite seriously and one that I feel is very important to be shared. I look around my classroom and witness so many young girls in a battle against the world, fitting in, and their own dignity. I try to sympathize with them, acknowledging the numerous temptations, mixed media messages, and impurities that they are constantly bombarded with. It is through witnessing this that I am able recognize my own responsibility as a female role model. I feel such a sense of urgency to be an example of purity for these young women. Lord, May young women everywhere come to understand Your design for their lives. Help them to live a life of purity amidst the daily dealings within a world that is plagued with sin. Guide young men to maintain their own purity, and also respect that of women. May the virtue of chastity be one that is embraced and practiced by all of Your children. Help us Lord to be examples of purity in our speech, dress, and actions. May our lives truly serve as testimony to the youth so that they may be faithful in their own purity. Lead us Lord each day to live a life that is pure and pleasing to You. Amen (C.C.)
Purity (by: C.C.)
Young girls today in agony
Struggling to keep their purity
Should we blame the world or do we look within
Falling victim to the vanity, falsity, and sin.
Staring in the mirror dreaming up a different weight
Thinking they need to give “it” up;
It’s time to educate.
But somewhere in the world tonight prayerful on her knees
Is someone who yearns to be like Blessed Mother Mary.
Purity and chastity and how about some modesty?
Our girls need leaders in their faith..
It’s time now to take that stance
So that our future can have a chance.
We must cling to our faith
We must walk with our truth
Let our lives serve as testimony
So we can better guide our youth.

Holy Mother: Pray for us

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Today's Thought

"What does love look like? It has the hands to help others. It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has eyes to see misery and want. It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men. That is what love looks like." (St. Augustine of Hippo)
As the world today is focused on Valentine's day and the concept of "LOVE" let us pause and remember the truest love of all found through Jesus Christ. May we constantly recognize that the reason we know love is because He came into the world and died for our sins. May we give thanks today for our loved ones and for being able to share this beautiful emotion with those around us. Let us strive for a Christian that is not self-seeking. Lord guide us to understand the way that we are called to love one another. May we always give thanks to You; recognizing that You are the author of love. Help us to make ourselves gifts of love through our service to others. Lord bless each of Your children today and always. May they feel the warmth of Your love and know that You are always with them. Help us to remember that You above all are our first and most important love. Help us to share this love with one another in a way that is pleasing to You. Thank You Lord for finding us worthy of Your love and mercy. Amen. (C.C.)
As I was searching for something to say and share about the issue of Modesty I came across this wonderful video online. - Video on Modesty

Sunday, February 12, 2012

"The sins which bring most souls to hell are the sins of the flesh. Certain fashions are going to be introduced which will offend Our Lord very much... the Church has no fashions; Our Lord is always the same..." (Bl.Jacinta Marto)
I have chosen to share this quote from Blessed Jacinta Marto because I intend on sharing some thoughts on the issue of modesty at some point today. For now I simply leave you all with this thought and short prayer. Lord allow us to understand the importance of not only purifying our souls, but to also strive toward creating an exterior in dress that is pleasing to You. Allow us to recognize that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit. Help us stretch beyond the confines of worldly lustful and vain standards. May we forever keep our eyes on the Eternal things understanding that what we wear should also glorify You. Amen (C.C)

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

"When you lose your peace and get nervous, it's like not listening to reason. At such times, one hears again the Master's words to Peter as he sank among the waves of his own nerves and lack of peace: "Why did you doubt?" (St. Josemaria Escriva)
To remain peaceful as the Lord calls us to requires full surrender and faithful trust in God. Indeed we are each human and battle with this daily. As situations, events, and stresses arise it may seem difficult to truly maintain peace within our souls. I often become frustrated with myself for allowing a lack of peace to enter my soul.....knowing that I belong to Him who longs for me to live with peace, joy, and serenity always. It is in these times that we must seek to hear the Master's words. Let us not get lost in the storms of our world and surroundings. May we constantly pray and ask the Lord to reveal Himself to us each day. May the peace of Christ be with you always. (C.C.)

Friday, February 3, 2012

"Even though at times you don't feel like praying and you think you are only saying things with your lips, nevertheless keep up your acts of faith and hope and love." ( St. Josemaria Escriva)
It is often during the times when we "don't feel like praying" that our most honest and sincere prayer is offered to the Lord. Let us not forget the importance of turning to God through everything we may be going through. Everyday make Him part of your journey, duties, dealings, conversations, and thoughts. Rest in the fact that He searches your heart and knows you. In the times when you may lack the ability to recognize the power of your prayer, do not refrain from turning to Him and offering up what you are feeling. (C.C)