Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Having Faith Through the Storm. By: C.C.


23 Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him. 24 Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. 25 The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!”
26 He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.
27 The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!” (Matthew 8: 23-27)
        I have been praying fervently for all of those afflicted by the recent hurricane. It seems that these events call us together in unity and simultaneously expose the most important things in our lives. Whether we are personally affected by the destruction and devastation or not, each of us can use this time to truly empathize and evaluate the state of our lives and of our relationship with the Lord.
      It takes great humility and also great faith to continuously recognize the need for God and the need for an intimate relationship with Him. Potentially we may live "simply" day to day and consider ourselves to have "control" over most of our surrounding circumstances.
      Events like hurricane Sandy reveal to us how much control we truly lack over the events that occur in our lives. Certainly we can take many precautions and make decisions that can aid us in living lives that will provide some sense of peace and serenity, but our true sense of stability is only found in Him who is unchanging.
   As we reflect upon this Scripture passage may we be comforted through faith and come to understand the importance of complete reliance on our Lord and trust in Him through the storms of our lives. I pray especially for those today who are dealing with hurricane Sandy, may each of them feel the presence of God and our Blessed Mother near them. May we all pause in gratitude for the many blessings that we have and for any sense of earthly comfort that we are given. Let us remember the importance of interior peace and relationship with God so that despite what is spiraling around us we may remain in a state of calmness. Lord watch over Your children during this time and always. Protect and provide for those who have yet to know You. Open up the hearts of all of us so that we may be used as Your instruments to help our brothers and sisters in need. Amen (C.C.)  

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Growing Pains in Faith. By: C.C.

"Trials and tribulations offer us a chance to make reparation for our past faults and sins. On such occasions the Lord comes to us like a physician to heal the wounds left by our sins. Tribulation is the divine medicine."
(St. Augustine of Hippo)

     It is difficult in times of tribulation to remain in peace. No matter how faithfully we live our lives, how many prayers we pray, or Masses we attend- there is a spiritual drought that can often plague us along the spiritual journey. The very thought of being open to receiving these words from our beloved Saint during our trials may potentially "rattle" us all the more as we struggle to have even a single moment of peace and calmness.
  Despite the difficulties we may face amidst our storms of life, St Augustine offers us a very sensible perspective on tribulation. By humbling ourselves before God we are able to view our trials as an opportunity for reparation of our past sins. These moments present us with the chance of growing in virtue and becoming more who we are created to be.
   In making a simple choice to drawn nearer toward our Lord and not become boggled down in whatever it is that we are facing, we allow ourselves to be receptive vessels to the love, grace, and mercy of our Heavenly Father. It is in this way that we can prosper in our relationship with God. 
   Each of us will face tribulation; this is the unavoidable truth of our human condition. As Catholics and Christians (followers of the Cross) we are also aware of the presence of these trials as a means of spiritual growth and purification. May we each come to view tribulation as divine medicine and trust in the love of our Lord to bring us through.
   Lord tonight I pray for those who are facing challenges. Provide them with the strength, courage, and faith to reach for You amidst their trials. Help us to see Your loving hand upon each and every event of our lives. May we always praise You and glorify You, even when we feel that we are being overcome by our own Cross. May we reflect upon the sufferings of Christ and through this meet our Blessed Mother Mary at the foot of the Cross who understands our deepest pains, fears, and sorrows. Guide us in faith Lord to live with hope and trust for the goodness that only comes through living our lives completely and selflessly for You. Thank You for Your blessings and Your love. Thank you for calling us from sin and leading us toward union with You. Amen (C.C.) 

Monday, October 8, 2012

Interior Oratory. By: C.C.

"The parents of Saint Catherine of Siena tried by every means they could to put obstacles in her way as regards prayer and meditation. Our Lord then inspired her to construct within her own heart a little interior "oratory" where she could mentally retire, even in the midst of exterior activity, and enjoy the solitude of her heart. Therefore, from that time on, she advised her spiritual sons and daughters to construct a small room in their own hearts and to dwell within it." (St. Francis De Sales)
    Responding to the call of our Lord while living amidst the world is one that poses many challenges. There is the constant pull and influence of others, society, and daily pressures that can become great burdens to those trying to live a devout life. There is also a yearning and desire to be at peace- most importantly, a strong desire to be filled with the Lord and fulfil His call in our lives.
   We must not be discouraged by any of these exterior pressures, but through faith we must persevere. Regardless of what may be hampering us within our surroundings it is important to stay grounded in our faith and seek the peace of God.
     It is easy to deny ourselves interior peace and become consumed with external demands. We may often fall victim to the ways of the world and the perpetual pull of life's pressures. In these moments we may find ourselves in a sense of great unrest and ultimately complete exhaustion. These times are undoubtedly trying, And yet, they can also succeed in confirming our innate need for peace, tranquility, and for God. 
    St. Catherine of Siena offers us a very important message about the interior life. It is by building a place of tranquility and peace within our hearts that we can truly find a solution for coping with our exterior demands and pressures. This "oratory" that St. Catherine invites us to construct is only made possible with our Lord and a complete surrender to Him in all things. It is our Lord who can aid us in silencing the noise within our hearts and help us attain a safe residing place of solitude where He is able to dwell. 
    Lord, help us create a place for you within our hearts so that we may meet you there amidst our daily struggles and exterior activity. Provide us with a sense of peace so that we are able to shine as Your children in every situation. Help us Lord to understand our need for the Sacraments, consistent prayer, and courage throughout our journey. Amen (C.C)