Saturday, February 9, 2013

Our Lady, One Lady's Devotion , And The Gift Of The Miraculous Medal: By: C.C.

" I offer you now to My Mother, for it is through Her that the world came to know Me, and through Her the world will come back to Me; by the gentle guiding hand of a Mother."

     Our Blessed Mother Mary is often misunderstood, dismissed, and even attacked by many who remain ignorant to the reasons and importance of Mother Mary and Her veneration within the Catholic Church. There is lack of understanding and as a result many salse judgements are made. It is important to share the fact that we as Catholics do not worship Mary; we only worship The Lord our God. We honor Mary, and we venerate Her in our Church, praying for Her intercession to aid us in becoming closer to Her Beloved Son Jesus Christ.
    Our Lady has been truly important to me throughout my journey of faith and has indeed carried me further into the bosom of our Lord. I share this story of the Miraculous Medal today because it is one that has been on my heart for some time. It is through Mary's "gentle guiding hand" that I have  become stronger in my walk with Christ and ultimately in my own journey as a woman in faith aspiring for purity. 
    In the year 2000 I was a young grade eight kid approaching the Sacrament of Confirmation- today, looking back upon this time in my life I feel that I was ignorant to not only many aspects our Catholic faith, but also of the importance of this Sacrament in my life. I hold no one at fault for this and recognize that regardless of my own ignorance our Lord was at work. 
   I attended a small elementary school in Wildfield, Brampton (St. Patrick's Elementary School). Catechism classes were mandatory the year of confirmation and held at the school's parish prior to Saturday evening Mass. I do not recall much of the Catechism class or what my teachers name was, all I recall is one event that left me with this beautiful Miraculous Medal and a moment that initiated  a relationship with the Blessed Mother and a profound encounter with the Catholic faith.
    It was one evening before Mass and I was walking to the back of the Church and I met a lady; she began asking me about our classes and when our Confirmation date was. Hanging on her neck was this amazing, aqua blue Blessed Mother- it caught my eye and I simply said "that is so beautiful, I've never seen one like that before". She put her hand to it and asked me what my name was. I shared this with her and then parted as Mass was soon beginning. Being an adolescent my mind was definitely preoccupied with other things and I did not think much more of this moment. However, this was not the case for this woman.
   A couple weeks later she again approached me following Catechism and said  " I think you should have this"...she opened her hand and gifted me with the same Medal of Mary that I had been drawn to a couple of weeks before. I was humbled by this gift and did not fully understand the value of it at that time, yet, somehow I believed that this was something so special I never wanted to lose. In fact I felt that it was so special I did not wear it for many years. I placed this Medal on a shelf in my room and would often look at it, feeling so unworthy to even wear it around my neck. As years passed and my relationship with God seemed to sadly dissipate there were nights that I held this medal in my hands before falling asleep. It would be at the age of 22 when everything started to change.
   I started attending Mass with a yearning to be nearer to The Lord and my faith again. I also began wearing this Miraculous Medal. During this time of return to the Church I often felt very emotional. The Eucharistic celebration and consumption often led me to tears; tears of sorrow for my sins, my ignorance, and also in recognition of the truth that I had never known.
    Following one Mass Deacon Robert at the parish approached me and asked me to sit down. He was attentive to the needs of the parishioners and extremely great to our youth. Through my tearful rambles he noticed the Medal on my neck and shared with me that this was the Miraculous Medal. Up to that point I had thought that the medal was just a medal with Mary on it, given by some nice lady during the year of my confirmation. Deacon Robert gave me a brief history of the medal and told me that I should do some reading on St. Catherine of Laboure. I am not sure if that moment with Deacon Robert is one that he even recalls and yet, it is one that I have never forgotten. I continued, and continue to wear the Miraculous Medal and have read the biography of beloved St. Catherine of Laboure with great interest. 
   This Miraculous Medal has continued to draw attention to Our Lady and I often get asked by students daily who it is hanging on my neck. I have yet to see another medal like this one with such beautiful blue. I am grateful each day to that woman at my parish years ago who gifted me with this. I know that the moment I put it around my neck was a moment that I began to welcome Mary and Jesus further into my heart. Since then my faith has grown immensely. This relationship and devotion to the Blessed Mother has given me such an understanding of what it means to be a woman of God, a woman in Christ, and a woman for Christ. I wish I could know the identity of this lady who so selflessly gave away her "necklace" to me, and yet, I am at the same time grateful that I do not. In this way everything points back to the workings of our Beloved Mother and our Lord who I thank for this gift and the gift of faith everyday. (C.C.)

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Many Words, One God. By : C.C.


      As I continue to dive further into the readings of Scripture, our beloved Saints, and many other great spiritual writers of our Church there is one thing that continues to strike me. Even through modern eyes these traditional works are relevant today. Certain details remain subject to time and context, but what is written remains significant and valid in the Spiritual life.
     From the works of Saint Paul to Thomas a Kempis, from Saint Augustine to Saint Therese of Liseux and Thomas Merton, there is an underlying and unchanging truth. This truth is of our unchanging God, and the Holy Spirit which has manifested within each of these individuals to create the works that we read today. It is through these written testimonies and "Sacred Sharings" that our understanding of faith and Christian life is aided. These works do not serve the purpose of furthering us away from the Truth or in any way attempt to sway us from the definitive word of God in Jesus Christ "God has revealed himself fully by sending his own Son, in whom he has established his covenant for ever. The Son is his Father's definitive Word; so there will be no further Revelation after him." ( Catechism of The Catholic Church) 
   It is through these works that we can be brought into a closer union and relationship with our Lord. Through the writings and experiences of many devout we come to feel a sense of community and company along our Christian path. The similarities between much of what we read is comforting as it confirms the truth of our faith. We can find rest in the ever present unchanging Father who has always kept His promises and surrounded His children with love.
   It is not for the glory of the author that we are drawn to read these sacred writings, but rather, it is the awareness of the Holy Spirit present within the written words of our Lord's servants that we find most intriguing. It is by God, the Holy Spirit, and the gift of faith that we are able to properly engage in our reading.
   As I surrender my writings to His will, and yet, so unworthily share various reflections with you, I am pleased with the fact that I can not say anything new.  I can not provide anything about Scripture that has not been shared many times by those far more capable than me. I can not write about the Spiritual Journey and our need for self surrender better than those I read, or any better than those who find themselves reading this. However, I can praise and honor The Lord recognizing that the Holy Spirit which moved Saint Paul to write is the same Spirit that moved Thomas Merton. It is this same Spirit that led Saint Francis of Assisi to give up everything as to serve The Lord and gain Eternal life.  It is by the witness, sharings, and writings of those proclaiming the truth of our Lord that we can come to partial knowledge of the One True God who spoke through the prophets and continues to inspire us today.(C.C.)

Monday, February 4, 2013

" All Things Through Christ" By: C.C.


      " God does not call the equipped, He equips the called" (Estefania)

    I was a reading a blog entry from Estefania who writes at I Found Him Whom My Soul Loves and was drawn to this specific line in her sharing. This simple yet profound statement carries with it immense truth. Even those faithful to the Lord battle with fear, anxiety, and other emotions when they feel that the Lord is asking something of them that they can not accomplish or begin to understand. There is an awareness of God's call, and simultaneously there is also some reservation.
     These fears and emotions of inadequacy that one experiences in the face of God's call are in fact a tremendous gift. It is a moment in which we recognize our nothingness and God's majesty. It is an opportunity for us to humble ourselves and be reminded that only with God can all things be made possible. - " For with God nothing shall be impossible." (Luke 1:37)
   Through Scripture and the lives of our Saints we see the reality of God calling man to do "great things"- quite monumental things that once appeared impossible to accomplish. We see through our Biblical ancestors the Provision of our Lord when He wills something to be done. We come to understand the marvellous works that can manifest themselves through us if we resign ourselves entirely to the will of God. This renouncing of self allows for us to further unite with the will of our Lord and in this manner fulfill the purpose He has set out for us. 
    It is through great obedience to the Lord's will that we are able to know people like Bl. Mother Theresa, St. Francis of Assisi, St. Maximilian Kolbe, and countless others who were equipped by God to accomplish all they did for His glory. The call is not one that we answer as an individual with our own strength, but rather, it is a call that invites us to come unequipped as we are allowing ourselves to be molded into what God wills for us to be. We must approach tasks before us with full faith and trust in The Lord. No matter how difficult, how impossible, how intimidating it may be. (C.C.). " I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." ( Philippians 4:13)