Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Today's Thought. By: C.C.

"Pray, hope, and don't worry. Worry is useless. God is merciful and will hear your prayer."
(St. Padre Pio)
Today I have chosen to share this short yet profound reminder about prayer and the way we are called by God to live void of worry. It is often challenging to truly let go and have faith in times when we feel overwhelmed, scared, afraid, or anxious. A dear friend of mine called last night in tears and panic about numerous medical tests she is currently under going. I can not imagine the intensity of emotions that plague her at this time. All I can offer her right now is comfort through faith and little reminders of God's unending love. I feel the only answer that seems to make sense is to continue to share the importance of prayer and trust in God throughout this time. Her phone call truly caught me off guard, and at the same time allowed me to quickly put things in to perspective. I am still seeking for the right words to share with her, the right Biblical passage, or comforting Saintly quote. Today I feel that the best thing I can offer her is a hug and support. I trust that the Lord is in control and will truly be by her through all of this. I pray that she will find comfort in the words of St. Padre Pio. Lord today I pray for all of those who are currently going through circumstances that lead them to feel anxious. Provide comfort to those who may be afraid in their dealings with health matters. Help guide care givers, friends, and loved ones to know the right words to say during these times. St. Luke I pray for your intercession to aid our Doctor's each day. Thank You Lord for the gift good health and for standing by us through our illnesses. May each of us be able to "Pray, Hope, and not worry". Amen (C.C.)

Sunday, January 29, 2012

A Disturbing Read; Sexual Immorality Glorified.

I received this article in an email tonight and I am so disgusted. Please keep this in your prayer intentions. We must do what we can to share the truth and to live out our lives the way that God has called us to.

Here is a link to the article below. May God help us in our battle....Holy Mother Mary pray for us.


(For information on chastity education and resources for parents to talk to teens and youth about sexuality please refer to www.chastity.com and http://thetheologyofthebody.com/information/teens )

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Sit In Silence Before Him. By: C.C.

"Jesus waits for us in this sacrament of love. Let us be generous with our time in going to meet Him in adoration and in contemplation that is full of faith and ready to make reparation for the great faults and crimes of the world. May our adoration never cease." (Bl. Pope John Paul II)
"In a world where there is so much noise, so much bewilderment, there is a need for silent adoration of Jesus concealed in the Host. Be assiduous in the prayer of adoration and teach it to the faithful. It is a source of comfort and light, particularly to those who are suffering."(Pope Benedict XVI )
Earlier this week I wrote about technology and the way we can employ it to share the Gospel and the Good News. However, it is also crucial that we find time amidst the chaos and noise of this technological world to Adore Christ present to us in the Blessed Eucharist. Adoration is a way for us to have a deeper encounter with Jesus. It is a time for us to sit in complete silence and experience peace within our soul. " Today we wake up to clock radios, we listen to the radio while we shower, and we watch television while we eat breakfast. We listen to the radio in the car on the way to work or school, we listen to music all day over the intercom, we get put on hold and we listen to the radio. We have Gameboys, pagers, cell phones,Walk-mans, Discmans, even DVD-mans. Most homes have multiple televisions, and we leave them on even when nobody is watching them. Our world has been filled with noise, and as a result, we can no longer hear the voice of God in our lives" (Matthew Kelly: Rediscovering Catholicism). Kelly does a wonderful job at describing the way in which we are bombarded with noise and distracted from God. It is this noise that truly prevents us from "hearing the voice of God". Many Churches have thankfully made perpetual Adoration available this means that the Blessed Eucharist is exposed 24/7. I personally wish that this were true for all of our Catholic Churches. I feel that it will only be made possible through immense support from parishioners. For those of you that have not yet experienced the beauty of Adoration I strongly encourage you to find some time within your week to sit in silence before the Blessed Eucharist or Tabernacle. Invite the Lord to speak to you. Offer up every care and worry. If you are distracted in your time of silence give that also to the Lord. I assure you that you will indeed feel a sense of calm, peace, and comfort. Lord tonight I pray that my Catholic brothers and sisters around the world will come to understand the beauty and need for silent adoration. May we constantly recognize the presence of Jesus "concealed in the Host". Give us patience to wait upon You and Your voice. Allow us to draw nearer to You through this sacrament. Lord I pray that You protect those who sit beside the Blessed Eucharist through the night hours in order for us to come and Adore. Thank You Lord for this beautiful sacrament and for Your numerous blessings. Hear the prayers and cries of those who sit in Adoration and provide them with the warmth and comfort of Your love. Amen (C.C)

Thursday, January 26, 2012

"In a world where there is so much noise, so much bewilderment, there is a need for silent adoration of Jesus concealed in the Host. Be assiduous in the prayer of adoration and teach it to the faithful. It is a source of comfort and light, particularly to those who are suffering."
(Pope Benedict XVI )

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

St. Paul By: C.C

"Meanwhile Saul was still breathing threats to slaughter the Lord's disciples. He went to the high priest and asked for letters addressed to the synagogues in Damascus, that would authorise him to arrest and take to Jerusalem any followers of the Way, men or women, that he might find. It happened that while he was travelling to Damascus and approaching the city, suddenly a light from heaven shone all round him. He fell to the ground, and then he heard a voice saying, 'Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?' 'Who are you, Lord?' he asked, and the answer came, 'I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. Get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you are to do.'The men travelling with Saul stood there speechless, for though they heard the voice they could see no one. Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing at all, and they had to lead him into Damascus by the hand. For three days he was without his sight and took neither food nor drink.There was a disciple in Damascus called Ananias, and he had a vision in which the Lord said to him, 'Ananias!' When he replied, 'Here I am, Lord,' the Lord said, 'Get up and go to Straight Street and ask at the house of Judas for someone called Saul, who comes from Tarsus. At this moment he is praying, and has seen a man called Ananias coming in and laying hands on him to give him back his sight.' But in response, Ananias said, 'Lord, I have heard from many people about this man and all the harm he has been doing to your holy people in Jerusalem. He has come here with a warrant from the chief priests to arrest everybody who invokes your name.' The Lord replied, 'Go, for this man is my chosen instrument to bring my name before gentiles and kings and before the people of Israel; I myself will show him how much he must suffer for my name.' Then Ananias went. He entered the house, and laid his hands on Saul and said, 'Brother Saul, I have been sent by the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on your way here, so that you may recover your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.' It was as though scales fell away from his eyes and immediately he was able to see again. So he got up and was baptised, and after taking some food he regained his strength. After he had spent only a few days with the disciples in Damascus, he began preaching in the synagogues, 'Jesus is the Son of God.' All his hearers were amazed, and said, 'Surely, this is the man who did such damage in Jerusalem to the people who invoke this name, and who came here for the sole purpose of arresting them to have them tried by the chief priests?' Saul's power increased steadily, and he was able to throw the Jewish colony at Damascus into complete confusion by the way he demonstrated that Jesus was the Christ." (Acts 9:1-22 )
Today we recognize The Conversion of St. Paul. We remember an incredible man of faith and are able to see God's amazing transforming power. Yet again we bear witness to the impact of the Gospel message and the influence of those like St. Paul who are full of conviction and on fire for their faith. St. Paul's conversion shows us the lengths that our Lord will go to call us out of our sin. It allows us to see the way that God uses us as His instruments to do His will. I have always been drawn to the writings of St. Paul, and I find so much value and modern relativity in his teachings on Christian Spirituality/Christian Life. Through St. Paul one can recognize the power of Christ within, the importance of surrender, and the way that we are called to live. Today's reading at mass began by describing "Saul" as one on a mission to slaughter the Lord's disciples..by the end of this reading we are faced with the miracle of Saul (Paul) being completely transformed by God. He is no longer on a mission to slaughter but on a mission to save souls proclaiming Jesus Christ as Lord. St. Paul truly took up his Cross and followed the way of Jesus (further readings will allow one to see that this was not an easy road). Through his conversion and the events of his life post Damascus, one can not help but truly recognize St. Paul as a true warrior for Christ. We witness the way that God used St. Paul to aid in the conversion of many who were led astray from their faith. As we recall the Conversion of St. Paul today let us pray for his intercession to help lead souls back to faith. Let us praise God for His power to transform and change us. May we constantly recognize our need for conversion daily. Let us see ourselves as instruments of our Lord and seek opportunities to do His will. May we be proud of our Catholic identity and confidently live out our faith every day. Lord, As we bear witness to the world around us it is often hard to remain hopeful and faithful. Provide us with the courage, faith, and hope to press on with You as our guide. Give us the strength to help make a difference when we can. Amen (C.C.)
“With eyes wide open to the mercies of God, I beg you, my brothers, as an act of intelligent worship, to give him your bodies, as a living sacrifice, consecrated to him and acceptable by him. Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own mould, but let God re-mould your minds from within, so that you may prove in practice that the plan of God for you is good, meets all his
demands and moves towards the goal of true maturity” (Rom 12:1-2, Phillips)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Theology And Technology: By. C.C.

"Young people in particular, I appeal to you: bear witness to your faith through the digital world!....Employ these new technologies to make the Gospel known, so that the Good News of God’s infinite love for all people, will resound in new ways across our increasingly technological world!" (Pope Benedict XVI)
It is difficult to avoid recognizing the massive way that technology has flourished around us. It seems that every day some new device is being unveiled and promoted as the "must have item". Numerous people flock to department stores in order to be among the first buyers of the "next best thing", and it is not long before everyone we encounter is buzzing with the same gadget. Our youth are especially pressured by peers to have the latest technological contraptions from video game systems, to cell phones, iPods, and of course to be linked through social media in every way possible. As an educator in middle school I see the prevalence of technology in the lives of today's youth every day. I find myself in my mid twenties battling to keep up with the numerous technological advancements..when did all of this happen? Arguably these advancements are remarkable and can assist us in many areas when used "properly". However, there are also many negatives, especially when it comes to our youth. Everyday I see students plugged into their iPods blaring music that most parents would not approve of their children listening to. They carry cell phones that link them to every form of social media and the Internet. They are online without parental supervision and are often exposed to highly inappropriate things. I have been guilty of judging and assuming that any student I see on their iPod can not be doing anything productive. Today I was humbled, moved, and taught a lesson by those I teach. Students are permitted to bring their iPods and technological devices to school understanding that they are liable for loss, theft, or any damage. Personally I believe the safest place for these items is at home....but none the less they seem to be quite prevalent around the building. During homeroom time I often allow students to listen to their music while they work quietly. Today I was asked for permission by a student to read something on her iPpod instead of listening to music. My mind automatically made the assumption that this student of mine was trying to pull the wool over my eyes. Inquisitively I asked her "What exactly are you going to read on there?" To which the students replied "Ms.C I just got the Bible App for my iPod and I wanted to read it" WOW! I definitely knew about this iPod App being available, but what I did not realize was that my 12 year old students had the type of fire for their faith to use their iPods as a means of keeping themselves in The Word of God. It was then I was humbled and recognized the way in which technology can indeed be used to make the Gospel known and share the Good News. This student was surprisingly not the only one in my class to have the Bible App on her iPod and it was not long before numerous students came up to me and showed me their Bible App. From verse of the day to Saint of the day I was beginning to learn a big lesson. The best part about this story is that I do not teach in a Catholic or a Christian school, and am so surrounded by children with profound faith. I was amazed by the way my students began to engage with one another, discussing their favorite parts about this Bible App. I realized that our youth can indeed "employ these new technologies" to glorify God and their faith. I started to turn away from my negative judgements of technology and began to recognize the way that one can use technology as a means of sharing faith and reaching numerous people. Whether we blog, send emails, or share messages of faith through status updates we are bearing witness and providing others with the opportunity to do the same. (C.C.)

Monday, January 23, 2012

"Refiner's Fire" By: C.C.

"The process of the purification of our souls is never finished, and will end only with our death. We must not be upset by our imperfections; instead, we must recognize them and learn to combat them. And it is in fighting against our imperfections without being discouraged by them that our very perfection consists." (St. Francis De Sales)
It is important that we each recognize the process of purification in our journey of faith. It is through this understanding that we can maintain perspective and accept the way that our Lord seeks to transform our hearts, minds, souls, and bodies to be the best version of ourselves. When we surrender and allow God to work within us, we are permitting Him to shape and mold us as He desires. This process is not always pleasant and may bring about discomfort. In these times we must remain focused on our Lord with faith that all of this is done in order for us to become the person He has called us to be. It is through gaining this perspective that we will be able to tread the waters of our ongoing conversion and purification process. As our imperfections are brought to light let us seek the blessing in recognizing them. This is a chance for each of us to change, to fight them, and to grow in deeper relationship with ourselves and our faith. Lord, today I pray that each of us may recognize our imperfections and have the strength to combat them. Give us the clarity to see You working in our lives to make us the best version of ourselves. Though we know perfection is unattainable help us strive to live by Your word and teachings. May we turn towards the Sacraments as a means of gaining all we need to endure the things that come. Help us respond to Your call as the Apostles did. Have Your way with every heart and every seeking soul. Lord thank You for loving us so much and for calling us to be Holy. Purify every heart and take total control in our lives until we are home with You. Amen (C.C.)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

"May your behavior and your conversation be such that everyone who sees or hears you can say: "This man reads the life of Jesus Christ." (St. Josemaria Escriva)
I stumbled upon these words from St. Josemaria Escriva during my readings this morning and truly felt that it is an important message to be shared. Though it is often challenging to steadily reflect the Christ within us...may each of us strive to glorify Him with our daily lives and dealings with others. Amen (C.C.)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

"Joy is prayer - Joy is strength - Joy is love - Joy is a net of love by which you can catch souls. God loves a cheerful giver. She gives most who gives with joy. The best way to show our gratitude to God and the people is to accept everything with joy. A joyful heart is the inevitable result of a heart burning with love. Never let anything so fill you with sorrow as to make you forget the joy of the Christ risen." ( Bl.Mother Teresa)

Today's Thought:Talent. By: C.C.

"Your talent is God's gift to you. What you do with it is your gift back to God." (Leo Buscaglia)
Lord tonight I pray that all of us will recognize our talents as a true gift from You. Allow us to honor and praise You by striving to reach our fullest potential. Help us to constantly see that we are not our own. Lord give us patience with ourselves as we try and work with the talents that You have given to us. May our motivation always be to glorify You and not ourselves. Humble us daily Lord to recognize that works without You and faith are not fruitful. Give us clarity so that we may have a deeper understanding of Your will for our lives. Lord provide us with comfort in the times that we are unmotivated, in despair, and may doubt ourselves. I pray that each of us will turn to You in praise not only in our successes but also throughout our failures. Lord thank You for the blessing of each and every new day. Help us to make the most of our time and to nourish our gifts that came from You alone. Thank You for the gift of talent Lord. May we always seek to glorify You, recognizing that what we do with what we are given is our gift back to You. Amen (C.C.)

Monday, January 16, 2012

We Are Fed. By. C.C.

"A friend once said, I'll tell you what I hate about the Catholic Mass. The preaching stinks and the music stinks and I get nothing out of it." I replied, "What I love about the Catholic Mass is that even if the music or preaching stinks, I still receive Christ." It is never about the peripheral things. They are only the glass and the face of the compass. Christ is the needle pointing us back to God. The Mass is bigger than the personalities associated with it. The Lord did not give us the gift of the church to make us miserable. Christ does not take on flesh in the Eucharist to dwell unnoticed or unappreciated in the corners of our churches. He has come to dwell in us. He is available." (Mark Hart)
Tonight I attended mass and experienced something wonderful. I am not saying that each Mass is not wonderful, but tonight I experienced a moment that affirmed my Catholic faith. I have recently begun attending Monday night mass at a different parish. I try my best to make daily mass part of my schedule, and much of that entails finding a parish that has a schedule coinciding with mine. From the moment I began attending evening Mass at this parish I was truly moved by the depth, delivery, passion, and devotion of every homily. This certain priest surely has a way of proclaiming the Gospel and sharing his reflections. He does this in a manner that is not self-righteous at all, but rather in a way that leads me to further appreciate the experience of Mass and receiving the Eucharist. However, tonight he did something different which allowed me to reflect upon how wonderful the Catholic Mass and faith truly is. Tonight the priest did not deliver a homily. Following the Gospel he quietly retreated to the altar to begin the Liturgy of The Eucharist. It was then that I experienced such a joy within me. At first I was confused. I expected Father to share a reflection, words of wisdom, devotion, and a brief lesson. Through his silence he affirmed the biggest lesson of all......,that receiving Christ is truly the reason for the Mass, that it is indeed bigger than the personalities associated with it. This in turn reminded me of something I had read written by Mark Hart (shared above). What a wonderful gift we receive through the Eucharist! Regardless of all that surrounds our Mass experiences, as Catholics our focus should not be on the "peripheral things" but on Jesus present in the Blessed Sacrament. Even when the preaching is dull and when the music is torturous, the one constant is Jesus Christ present to us at the altar. " Take this all of you and eat it, this is my body which will be given up for you". (Matthew 26:26) Amen. (C.C.)

Sunday, January 15, 2012

"Here I Am". By: C.C.

" And, running to Eli, he said, 'Here I am, as you called me.' Eli said, 'I did not call. Go back and lie down.' So he went and lay down. And again Yahweh called, 'Samuel! Samuel!' He got up and went to Eli and said, 'Here I am, as you called me.' He replied, 'I did not call, my son; go back and lie down.' As yet, Samuel had no knowledge of Yahweh and the word of Yahweh had not yet been revealed to him. Again Yahweh called, the third time. He got up and went to Eli and said, 'Here I am, as you called me.' Eli then understood that Yahweh was calling the child, and he said to Samuel, 'Go and lie down, and if someone calls say, "Speak, Yahweh; for your servant is listening." ' So Samuel went and lay down in his place. Yahweh then came and stood by, calling as he had done before, 'Samuel! Samuel!' Samuel answered, 'Speak, Yahweh; for your servant is listening.' Samuel grew up. Yahweh was with him and did not let a single word fall to the ground of all that he had told him." (First Samuel 3:5-10,19)
Today's first reading was one that brought me back to the idea of surrendering all control and fulfilling God's will for our lives. I was blessed this weekend to spend some time with a dear friend of mine. Her and I spoke on the issue of discerning this very notion of where God leads us and what it is we are truly being called to do. Through very simple words Samuel reveals such an important message. By simply saying "Here I am" to the Lord it is permitting Him to work within and through us in ways that we can not understand.This message of surrender never becomes old. We must truly approach the Lord each day and say simply "Here I am"..Let us cling to this lesson that we learn from Samuel. May we strive to have a faith that is firm in knowing that the Lord is with us and calls each of us everyday. In times that we may lack clarity in our discernment may we follow the advice of Eli and say to the Lord.... "Speak, Yahweh; for your servant is listening". Trust through faith that the Lord will indeed speak to you in some way. Continue to surrender all you do to Him, have faith in His will, and strive for a willingness to truly be His faithful servant. Spend time before the Blessed Sacrament, in silent prayer, and be patient as you wait upon the Lord...assured that He is indeed with You. Lord tonight I pray that each of us can turn to You openly, honestly, and faithfully to say "Here I am". Let us be open to where You may lead us. Give us peace when we are confused, anxious, or worried about our circumstances. Lord meet us where we are at in our journeys of faith and help us see where it is You would like us to be. May we each begin our days saying "Here I am, Thy will be done". Amen. (C.C.)

Thursday, January 12, 2012

One Thing At A Time. By: C.C.

"We can not do everything, and there is a sense of liberalization in realizing that. This enables us to do something, and to do it very well. It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way, an opportunity for the Lord's grace to enter and do the rest." (Archbishop Oscar Romero)
Lord help us come to the realization that we can not do everything. Give us the humility and the patience with ourselves to allow You to work in our lives as You wish. May we recognize our need for help from others when it is truly required, and may we always look to aid our brothers and sisters when we can. Help us to focus Lord on the things that truly matter and provide us with Clarity when we can not discern what to do. Lord we are thankful that You are unchanging, all loving, and always there to carry the burdens that weigh on us. Thank you Lord for the many blessings, talents, and for the grace that You bring into our lives. Forgive us for the times that we take You for granted and try to take on everything alone. May we be patient as we wait upon You and Your will to prevail. And as we carry on each day allow us to recognize the importance of doing one thing at a time. Lord stand by us so that we may reach our full potential and accomplish everything You have called us to. Amen (C.C.)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Today's Gospel Reflection. By: C.C.

"That evening, after sunset, they brought to him all who were sick and those who were possessed by devils. The whole town came crowding round the door, and he cured many who were sick with diseases of one kind or another; he also drove out many devils, but he would not allow them to speak, because they knew who he was. In the morning, long before dawn, he got up and left the house and went off to a lonely place and prayed there. Simon and his companions set out in search of him, and when they found him they said, 'Everybody is looking for you.' He answered, 'Let us go elsewhere, to the neighbouring country towns, so that I can proclaim the message there too, because that is why I came.' And he went all through Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and driving out devils. " (Mark 1:32-39)
As I sat in Mass tonight I reflected upon today's Gospel message and the immensity of service and sacrifice that Jesus demonstrated throughout His life. I think of the ways that we too are called to make ourselves instruments of service toward one another by gathering our strength from the Lord, and imitating the example of Jesus as much as possible. Today's Gospel speaks about the ways in which Jesus healed numerous people from ailments and demons. One can only imagine how exhausting this must have been for Jesus. However, despite this physical exhaustion it is said.."In the morning, long before dawn, he got up and left the house and went off to a lonely place and prayed there." This point truly jumped out at me. It is a reminder to all of us of our constant need for prayer, devotion, and faith in the Lord to provide us with the strength to be of service for Him. Jesus Himself understood that without God, prayer, and total faith..His works could not be fruitful, and that His strength would not be lasting. It is important for each and every one of us to retreat to a quiet place of solitude and be with God. It is through this that we will be comforted and recharged in order to do what we are required to do. Jesus had something to accomplish, He had His mission. He also recognized that without his quiet morning retreat to prayer, without his time with God.... He would not be able to set out and proclaim the message. Like Jesus we too have our own mission. Let us each remember the importance of turning to God to recharge and refocus. May we always strive to be of service to others and live as we are called to. Lord tonight I ask that You help us see the importance of relying fully on You for everything we need. Help us see that we are not alone in our works of service, but that it is You who works with and through us. Amen. (C.C.)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Persevere In Prayer. By: C.C.

" Persevere in prayer. Persevere, even when your efforts seem sterile. Prayer is always fruitful." ( St. Josemaria Escriva)
It seems sometimes that the very thing we are praying for is not answered. We must recognize that while we are passing judgements on God and the fruitfulness of our prayers we may miss the blessing, grace, and the answered prayer. Let us leave our prayers in the hands of the Lord and trust fully in His answer. Let us not pray with the intent of our own wants being fulfilled, but rather let our prayers be known to the Lord and give Him full control. Does He not know what we need best? Trust in Him! Consistently pray with an open heart and be assured that every prayer is indeed fruitful, even if you do not see it right away. Lord today I pray that each of us will always turn to You with an open heart in prayer. May we be persistent in prayer and not lose hope amidst the times that seem to be sterile. Help us to grow in a deeper trusting relationship with You. Thank You Lord for always listening to our prayers and forgive us for the times that we may lack confidence in our faith. Let us strive each and everyday to do Your will and accept whatever You may bring into our path. May we always turn to you in prayer with patience to wait upon Your answer. "Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer" (Romans 12:12). Amen. (C.C.)

Monday, January 9, 2012

"It is the cross that asks the questions, and it is the resurrection that answers them" (Bishop Fulton Sheen)

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Surrounding Our Hearts With God. By: C.C.

"Often during the day, even while outwardly engaged in conversations and business with others, remember to retire to the solitude of your heart to be with God. This mental solitude cannot be in any way impeded, even if many people stand about you, since they surround, not your heart, but only your body. Your heart remains alone in the presence of God." (St. Francis DeSales)
There are so many reasons we may find ourselves frustrated with our daily duties. It often seems that there is no time for the Lord or for us to settle down and pray as we are easily distracted with our tasks, schedules, and demands. It is very important that we take the time amidst the chaos and retreat to the silence of our hearts to be with God. St. Francis DeSales reminds us that regardless of our outward obligations we should recognize and focus in on the God within us. We must create a place of solitude and prayer within our hearts, minds, and souls so that regardless of what surrounds us, peace may dwell within us. I had a friend of mine write me the other day with this brief reminder " Hide God words in your heart so you won't sin against Him".... I found this to be such an important thing to do. And as I read more from St. Francis DeSales this idea of surrounding my heart with the presence of God became even more crucial and wonderful to me. How beautiful to think that amidst my daily routine I can return to the quietness of my heart and feel the Lord so close to me. It is by doing this that our daily dealings can be much less daunting. By surrounding our hearts with God and making an effort to connect with Him internally each day we will grow in faith and relationship with Him. Lord tonight I pray that as we carry on with our daily labours, You help us recognize Your presence within our hearts. May we each strive to create a place for You and quiet reflection whenever it is possible. Let us always remember the importance of connecting to You throughout each day and that You are always with us. Amen (C.C.)

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Rest In Faith And Do Not Fear. By:C.C.

"Do not get all worked up about the future disasters of this world, which may never occur anyway; when and if they do occur, God will give you the strength to bear them. Jesus commanded Saint Peter to walk on the water, but Peter, frightened by a gust of wind and the storm, almost drowned. Then he pleaded with the Lord, Who said to him, "What little faith you have ... why did you falter?" And putting forth His hand He saved him. [cf. Mt. 14:31] If God asks you to walk on the turbulent waters of adversity, do not doubt, do not fear, because God is with you. Have courage and you will be safe." (St. Francis DeSales)
A new year is finally here! The media has shared many theories about 2012 and the apparent end of the world. Some people may give life to these predictions and get wrapped up in some search for when this exact event may occur. How many times has this theory been presented to us already??? Fortunately the world is still here, and so are we. All joking aside, it is an interesting thing to contemplate and reflect upon. St Francis DeSales reminds us that if we truly have faith in the Lord there is no need to worry or be afraid of anything. Even in times of tribulation and adversity we can rest in faith that the Lord will give us the strength and aid us in bearing whatever comes. I speak beyond these 2012 predictions and in to the every day lives that we lead. We are called by God to be free of worry and anxiety, to live in a state of hope, faith, and joy. It is difficult to maintain this focus when our foundations are shaken or when the water seems too turbulent to tread. We as children of God should focus on Him at all times so that like Peter we do not sink, but rather rise above our adversity with faith in the Lord's presence through it all. Today's reading from John reminds us that we have nothing and no one to fear....."Children, you are from God and have overcome them, because he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world." (John 3:22-4:6) May we forever keep our sights on He who dwells within us despite what may be occurring around us. Let us seek the Lord in times that trouble may face us. Trust that He is forever beside you guiding you through the storm. Lord help us everyday of our lives to rest in faith and not in fear. Give us a faith that is unfaltering so that we may live fully reliant on You, trusting that You will always keep us safe. Amen. (C.C.)

Leave It To The Master Designer. By: C.C.

"God loves to decorate. God has to decorate. Let him live long enough in a heart, and that heart will begin to change. Portraits of hurt will be replaced by landscapes of grace. walls of anger will be demolished and shaky foundations restored. God can no more leave a life unchanged than a mother can leave her child's tear untouched. This might explain some of the discomfort in your life. remodeling of the heart is not always pleasant. We don't object when carpenter adds a few shelves, but He's been known to gut the entire west wing. He has such high aspirations for you. God envisions a complete restoration. He won't stop until he is finished....he wants you to be just like Jesus." (Max Lucado)
I came across this reflection by Max Lucado and was unable to put it out of my mind and heart. I sat in quiet reflection tonight at adoration and contemplated on the ways that God has decorated, demolished, refurbished, and continues to remodel my heart. I felt that this message was something I would share as I have truly battled with this process of "decoration" that is constantly taking place within me by the master designer...GOD! I have heard the message of letting God in to every room of my heart and soul repeated by many priests during various homilies. In my opinion this message never seems to grow old and I always need to be reminded of how important it is to allow Him into every nook, cranny, and crevice of my entire being if I truly want Christ to dwell in me. However, as Lucado states this process of change is not always comfortable. And arguably, if we are truly to become like Jesus we can only expect that we too will experience some suffering. As I welcomed the Lord in a deeper way I started to acknowledge and become aware of things within me that no longer worked if I wanted to walk with Christ. Beyond behaviors, I felt called to reflect upon the things that lingered within my heart and soul that prevented the Lord from dwelling there. Initially I thought that I alone would be enough to remove the illness from my soul, as if I was saying to God...... "Thanks for bringing these things to light for me Lord, I'll change it now"....as if to say "I'm in control and will take it from here". I look back now and see myself as foolish. Perhaps at that time I did not realize the way that I had needed God to truly step in, enter every room, reside there, and clean all the muck out. I need to experience the pains of His restoration in order to truly become the person He envisions me to be. I imagine at the end of this restoration process ( if ever it is reached) I will experience a joy like none other. A joy brought on by truly surrendering to the Lord and letting him alone "decorate" upon the canvass of my heart and soul of which He created Himself. Throughout this process fervent prayer, Mass, Adoration, and Eternal focus is very necessary. It is through these that one can find strength to endure the pains that come with this transformation process. Lord tonight I pray that each of us will open our hearts to You and truly let You dwell within. I ask that you replace all of the hurt, anger, pride, jealousy, envy, and resentment with Your love. Forgive us Lord for holding back from You out of fear of discomfort and pain. Forgive us for the times in which we have not dealt Christ like with others due to our own brokenness and need of healing. Help us accept these pains as a means of becoming more like Jesus. Throughout this process of change, if it be Your will give us the clarity to feel Your presence and joy. Lord thank You for loving us so much and for desiring us to become as You envisioned. May we always let You in and may your decorating of our hearts never cease. Amen (C.C.)