Sunday, December 13, 2009

The soul enlightened

God is purity.
God is love.
God's presence in our lives
enlightens the soul, and makes us free.

In order to live a true and profound interior life,
a life that begins and ends in Christ
(through Him, with Him and in Him),
we must ask (make room) for: purity of intention/purity of heart.

The good that we can bring to others
is the good that God freely bestows in us
when we have emptied ourselves of all human attachments...
when we have asked for it in prayer
through His mother's intercession
(the Bearer of the Good)
when we recognize this good in whose very Image we were created;
then, we can also give it away as freely as it flows
because the more we receive,
the more love will be available for the giving.
And the more we give,
the more love is offered freely, for the taking.

How have I made the good known to others, this day?
How have I been a bearer of the love of Christ, today?

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Life Lessons

Sometimes people come into your life and you know right away that they were meant to be there, to serve some sort of purpose, teach you a lesson, or to help you figure out who you are or who you want to become.

You never know who these people may be (possibly your neighbor, a long lost friend, or even a complete stranger), but when you lock eyes with them, you know at that very moment they will affect your life in some profound way.

And sometimes things happen to you that may seem horrible, painful, and even unfair at first, but in reflection you find that without overcoming those obstacles you would have never realized your potential, strength, willpower, or heart.

Everything happens for a reason. Nothing happens by chance or by means of “good luck”. Illness, injury, love, lost moments of greatness, and sheer stupidity all occur to test the limits of your soul.

Without these small tests, whatever they may be, life would be like a smoothly paved, straight, flat road to nowhere. It would be safe and perhaps comfortable, but dull and utterly pointless. The people you meet who affect your life, and the successes and downfalls you experience, help to create who you are and who you become. Even the bad or not-so-good experiences can be learned from. In fact, they are probably the most poignant and important ones.

If someone hurts you, betrays you, or breaks your heart, forgive them, for they have helped you learn about trust and the importance of being cautious to when you open your heart. If someone loves you, love them back unconditionally, not only because they love you, but because in a way, they are teaching you to love and how to open your heart and eyes to all good things around you.

Make every day count. Appreciate every moment and take from those moments everything that you possibly can, for you may never be able to experience it again. Talk to people that you have never talked to before, and actually listen.

Let yourself fall in love, break free, and set your sights high on the things from above. Hold your head up because you have been made in the divine image of a God in love. Believe in yourself, and God’s giftedness in you, for if you fail to believe in yourself, it will be hard for others to believe in you.

Most importantly, if you love someone tell them, for you never know what tomorrow may have in store. And learn to love more…each day you live.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

God: Eternal Love and Absolute Truth

(Reflection on John 8:22)
Each person will come to find his good (and purpose for life) by adherence to God's divine plan for him, in order to realize it fully.

When we follow God's plan for our lives we find our truth; and through adherence (or 'sticking-to-it') we become free (from worries, anxieties, etc...) and live with an interior peace that continually guides us onward on the Journey of Life: (the Word of God ...speaks to us in the heart when it has been made clean from earthly distractions or contradictions).

After all, we are created to walk this earth for a period of time: whether it be long or brief (by our timing). In this period, God takes care of us as His created; but He also allows us the freedom (in His grace) to make our own choices. And so He waits, and he waits...for us to come to Him. For in Him (alone) is where our ultimate truth and reason-for-living - is found.

Once we are 'found' in Him (who is Eternal Love and Absolute Truth) we have no recourse but to be defenders of this Truth, and to articulate it with humility and conviction (and in a peaceful manner), bearing witness to the Truth in our lives by living in charity (love) towards all (of God's created).

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Bearers of LIfe

Deepen our love

Deepen our love: A prayer as love-letter, for our day...

My Sweet Jesus,
As today I hear your voice,
give me your love
poured into my heart -

that my love for all will deepen -
especially for the ones who have fallen
under the burden of their own weakness.

Remind me to be joyful and compassionate -
especially when you allow me the privilege
to be amidst many souls who are broken and confused
by the false promises of this earthly world.

For you, alone, can bring us to the Promised Land -
which is forever...
And in this way,
as we follow you,
we can truly be called sons and daughters
in You, with You, and most importantly, through You -
on our way to our Father in heaven.

This love for all,
must be rooted in You - who are Love, the Source -
the beginning and the end.

My love is all that it needs to be,
when Your Love remains in me.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

El Don de la Presencia - The Gift of Presence

El Don de la Presencia = The Gift of Presence

The Gift of presence in Spanish is: El Don de la Presencia

We first learn about the gift of presence
when in the family,
we allow the individual presence of each member
to be significant for the uniqueness
of the individual
but also as an important member
of the whole (the family)

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Gift of Presence: a new resolution

I have dozens of resolutions, also known as "lists" scattered about my life, and since they are ongoing, I don't put any more emphasis on creating a list at the start of a new school year. Yes, summer is ending and as we enter into fall, vacation from school is over (for most). And a new year for school-goers is starting.

Over the last few weeks, I have come to the decision that the most important thing I can do this school year is give myself a gift that also benefits my family, friends, health, intellect, spirit and work.

It is, simply, to be present.

For me, to be present means that I will give my children, my husband and people I meet everyday, focused attention. When it is prayer time, work, a social activity, or any other thing I am doing -- I will give that person, activity or task the same focused attention. Everything else must (and usually can) wait.

This is going to be a challenge for an extreme multitasking, type A-personality, but I've been practicing and see the colossal benefits already. God is so good.

  • My children are happier.

  • My marriage is stronger.

  • My health is better (and I can actually sleep better at night without thinking about the many things on my "to do" lists!).

  • My memory is sharper and therefore I can accomplish tasks better and more efficiently.

  • My spirit is younger.

  • My interior life is richer.

For most of my life I've prided myself on the ability to do a lot of things. Now, I will make a great effort to NOT do them all at once. Especially while my children are asking me for help with their homework, someone is calling for my assistance via phone, checking work e-mail, making dinner; trying to do all these at once make for a disaster in at least one of those tasks.

It means I will read and write with full attention to that task.

It means I will not over-schedule my days, nor will I make plans that pile one thing on top of each other. I will learn to let go and allow God’s will to be done…in my life (as it is in heaven…)

Doing this over the last few months has been good for me, but it comes with a price. Being present also means saying "no" more often, so I can say “yes” to things that truly are priorities in the life God has graced me with. I have missed seeing my mother every weekend as I used to because she lives far away. Instead of driving ‘forever’ to visit with her in person, I connect with her via phone everyday, and write long letters (which she prefers anyway because she gets to reread them as often as she likes). We have not even begun a major house-files reorganizing/spring cleaning project that is many years overdue. I haven't learned to update my new laptop computer nor have I connected with my own family members who live in other cities or countries even. And still, it is all okay. God knows what needs to be done by me, and what needs to be done by others, according to His plan.

The upside: laughing with my daughter as we try on the new scents at the fragrance counter in our ‘girls-only-window-shopping spree’, sitting with my husband at our outdoor garden furniture after a day of weeding the flower garden and watering the lawn enjoying a moment of quiet relaxation, having time to sit and talk with each other without the children interrupting. And finally, going out on a real date and enjoying the precious company of the one who reminds me of the reason for our being one in the first place: my loving spouse.

God continues to grace our lives with His goodness and providential presence…if only we allow Him to do the talking, and we listen with the heart.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

On the need for solitude

Solitude is for presence.

In solitude, our own deepest center is found to be a holy place where God dwells.
There, He communes with us,
in love.

No need to fear solitude –
for in solitude we find completion,
and not loneliness or depletion.

Solitude makes us face the reality of our being and reason for our existence.
In solitude, we can truly begin to know who we are,
and find ourselves as God intends for us to be.

To many undefined souls,
solitude can be lonely, absurd or even deadly.
But with renewed Faith, Hope and Love,
we learn to have pity on our smallness,
and place our lives in God’s hands.

We must learn to cultivate the good within –
by taking moments for solitude
in order to be in communion with God.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Have you ever had trouble breathing?

As natural as the act of breathing is for us, there can be times when we may experience difficulty breathing when we lose ourselves in a particular moment. Whether the moment is good or the moment is not-so-good, our human bodies react to each of these moments in very different ways. Our breathing tends to be affected by our reaction to these moments…every time.

God has made us in such a way so as to keep us living, though we may tend to lose ourselves in many moments of our lives. When we’re excited, we may hold our breath briefly in disbelief. The moment is then quickly followed by a very deep exhaling (or we’d find ourselves literally ready to faint or perhaps even going into shock). Our body can only accept or tolerate what the disciplined mind and heart have trained it to endure. God's grace makes us this way.

I am reminded of a time in school when I became so preoccupied with a project I was diligently working on, that I unconsciously held my breath (I still do this many times) until I realized this was not a good thing to do (because a moment later I found myself literally gasping-for-air). Another time while learning how to swim, I remember gasping-for-air at the wrong time. I had started to sink underwater and had not held my breath in-time before going under. What happened next was not-so-good. In my reaction to the stressful situation, a young inexperienced mind panicked, and so... I nearly drowned.

Today, there are many times when I consciously remind myself to breathe. Invoking God’s aid, especially before entering into a moment of stress, as in entering into a difficult conversation or job, school or family situation, I make a conscious effort to breath-in the presence of the Lord. As I breathe-in air/oxygen where I also take-in God’s love, I am reminded of the goodness of God (after all I am alive, still…). When I exhale, I purposefully give-out the carbon monoxide and any sinful or noxious ways that are detrimental to my peace-filled state of being.

God does allow moments when we may experience some awesomeness that simply takes our breath away… These moments are good, if only we remember to keep our breathing steady in His Spirit, allowing the goodness-in while the not-so-goodness is let out of our lungs, and out of our lives. The Lord’s infinite mercy always takes care of the rest. If only we place our trust in Him, God calms our breathing, and the difficult moments soon pass us by, too.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Beauty to behold

If this is an actual picture that our human eyes can see
of a real flower that grows in a place near you and me,
how much more beautiful will a heavenly picture pose
that even our most vivid imagination could not begin to propose...

For it has been written that:
"Eye has not seen,
ear has not heard,
what God has ready for those who love Him..."

Thursday, June 4, 2009

A clean pair of eyes to see…The Way, the Truth, the Life

What is the Way of Jesus?

Jesus’ claim was very bold: “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one can come to the Father except through me. To have seen me is to have seen the Father.” [1] What is the Way of Jesus? What is the Truth of his claim that to have seen him is to have seen the Father? What is the Life that he promises us? If our reading of Scripture is to get us beyond the surface of the words, then these questions are most important ones we must reflect upon.

The Way: “Follow me”

The invitation Jesus makes to his disciples was (is) quite simple: “Follow me.” For us to come to know the Father and to be able to become his children, we have to accept Jesus. The way to the Father is the way of Jesus. The call that Jesus addresses to us today, just as he did to his first disciples, is the same call: “Follow me.”

When we freely choose to follow Jesus, we are required to be more than a Christian in name only, or of being a passive member of a church, or learning a lot about our Christian heritage, or strictly obeying a moral code. Following Jesus involves entering into a personal relationship with him, and acknowledging him as our Lord and Savior. To follow Jesus does not mean that we are to be respectful spectators of the life of Jesus from a distance (if you will). Jesus invites us to walk alongside him in obedience and trust.

To follow Jesus involves more than taking a step on the path that he laid out for us. It also means following after him, day after day. It means constantly renewing our commitment to him. And it means modeling our lives on his. Jesus invites us not simply to “tag along for the ride”, but to imitate him in his ways and to grow up into his image. When we accept the call to follow Jesus, we make him the focus of our lives, the image constantly before our eyes. He must become our way of life.

The way to the Father is the way of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. “There is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” [2] So it is that we must always turn to Jesus and accept him as Lord in order to have forgiveness of our sins and receive life. This is why his call, “Follow me” has such seriousness when we hear it. Jesus Christ was not simply a great prophet arisen among us; he is the Word of God to us, the way to the Father provided for all of humanity. Only Jesus is the Way.

The Truth: “To see me is to see the Father”

When people saw Jesus, what did they see? The outward appearance of Jesus was certainly not ‘otherworldly’. Yet when he appeared to Peter, James and John during his transfiguration on the mountain, he must have normally looked like an ordinary human being. His neighbors during his time in Nazareth apparently saw nothing extraordinary about him. Considering him to be only the son of a carpenter turned preacher, they failed to believe and have faith in him. Even his relatives were surprised that people would gather in crowds to listen to him: “He went home again, and once more such a crowd collected that they could not even have a meal. When his relatives heard of this, they set out to take charge of him, convinced he was out of his mind” [3] If his appearance had been in any way extraordinary, no doubt greater reverence, would have been shown to him.

Even after the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, he did not appear to people in a dazzling light. Mary Magdalene mistook the risen Christ for the gardener [4] - something that would have been unthinkable if Jesus’ appearance was in any way extraordinary. If to see Jesus is to see the Father, we will need to go beyond mere physical appearance: Jesus looked like an ordinary human being of his time.

Perhaps the clue to seeing the Father in Jesus was (is) provided by Jesus himself: “You must believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; believe it on the evidence of this work, if for no other reason” [5] The works that Jesus did are the clue to seeing the Father.

The works that Jesus did were not mere signs and wonders – or a magic show demonstrating a superhuman power. They had a much deeper significance: they were a direct assault on the kingdom of darkness to repair the sickness and death that afflict man because of sin (from the beginning of Adam and Eve’s fall from grace). They were works of love, works revealing the Father’s love for mankind. Just as we are concerned when our children are sick or hungry; so our Heavenly Father is concerned for each and every one of us. This concern of the Father was expressed in Jesus by his works, works which revealed the Father’s love for all people.

The Life: “Love as I have loved you”

The works of Jesus - carried (carry) a special meaning for his followers. They were (are) not merely signs of God’s infinite love to be admired; they were (are) not only occasions for thanking God for his outpouring of love for us. They were and continue to be, works to be performed by all those following Jesus, in imitation of him. “I am in the Father and the Father is in me; believe it on the evidence of this work, if for no other reason. I tell you most solemnly, whoever believes in me will perform the same works as I do myself, he will perform even greater works, because I am going to the Father” [6]

The works that we are to do in imitation of Jesus are not primarily extraordinary miracles, but they are the works of love. “I give you a new commandment: Love one another. Such as my love has been for you, so must your love be for each other. This is how all will know you for my disciples: your love for one another” [7] This “new command” might not seem revolutionary to us in today’s world, but when Jesus first proclaimed it, it must have struck his disciples as new indeed.

In the Old Testament, the law read: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” [8] And whenever the law of love came up during Christ’s ministry he simply reaffirmed this Old Testament law. [9] But during the intimacy of the Lord’s Last Supper, Jesus revealed a new law for his disciples to follow: not merely love of others according to the standard by which we love ourselves, but love of others according to the new standard set by Jesus.

Jesus also demonstrated the meaning of this new command by washing the feet of his disciples before the Last Supper meal. This was a lowly service usually performed by a household slave or servant, and Peter at first rebels at this new idea. But Jesus deliberately washes their feet and then tells the disciples: “What I just did was to give you an example: as I have done, so you must do” [10] The love of Jesus was a love of humble service – a love that went (goes) far beyond simply extending a form of self-love to others. This was (and still is today) a radically self-sacrificing love.

The love of Jesus for his apostles was love to the point of death. This realization must have ‘come home’ to the apostles during the Last Supper, because they knew that it was to be literally their last meal together before Jesus died. Jesus had told them that ‘his hour had come’, that he was returning to the Father and glorification – but he was returning by way of Calvary, for their sakes (and the sake of all mankind). This too was an important part of the new command: “This is my commandment: love one another as I have loved you. There is no greater love than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” [11] Jesus could not have made the meaning of this new commandment any clearer to his apostles than by presenting it to them on the very eve of his death. “Such as my love has been for you, so must your love be for each other” [12]

In Jesus we see the Father; in the love that Jesus has for us, we see the love that his Father (and our Father) has for us. In following Jesus we have our way to the Father. In listening to the words of Jesus and obeying them, we enter into union with the Father (through Jesus himself): “If any man loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we shall come to him and make our home with him” [13] In Jesus we have life.

Even though Jesus does not physically (in person) walk in our lives today, he is still with us, he is always our life. As he himself confessed to us, through him, we can be in union with God: “In a short time the world will no longer see me; but you will see me, because I live and you will live. On that day you will understand that I am in my Father and you in me and I in you” [14]

As the Way, the Truth, the Life, Jesus is the revelation of God come to man. He gives us not only knowledge about God, but he also gives us knowledge of God; not only a message from a God who is distant from us, but a path to our Father in heaven; not only a description of the good life that is promised to those who believe and obey, but the life itself. And we are given all this through his Holy Spirit.

[1] John 14:6, 9
[2] Acts 4:12
[3] Mark 3:20-21
[4] John 20:15
[5] John 14:11
[6] John 14:11-12
[7] John 13:34-35
[8] Lev 19:18
[9] Matt19:16-19, Luke 10:25-27
[10] John 13:15
[11] John 15:12-13
[12] John 13:34
[13] John 14:23
[14] John 14:19-20

Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Triune Majesty of God

It was a Sunday afternoon, and we were riding in the car on our way to a far away place where we were going to visit with some people we had not yet met.

Riding in the car for long distances is a good way to 'catch-up' with many things 'pending'; such as praying a full rosary together and uninterrupted, recalling the plans and options for a family vacation, listening to one another as we talk about things that were perhaps unimportant when not given the time to share at length, spending some quiet time, together. And most importantly, simply enjoying being in each other's presence as we sit side by side riding in the car is a good thing, too.

My favorite part in long rides is looking out the window and taking in all the images of life that pass us by. Sometimes we see a hawk or some large bird flying high, and we wonder how it would feel - to fly free. At other times we spot a dead animal on the road, and our hearts are saddened by the loss - we imagine how it might have happened - who hit who - did someone in a vehicle get injured, too?

On this particular drive, we saw three balloons floating by rising higher in the sky. Could not begin to imagine where they had been released from or if perhaps some small child had lost them after attempting to hold on to them tightly (since helium tends to want to flee, we cannot keep it as it wants to rise freely, too).

The first thought was of God's Triune Majesty. Anytime our eyes capture good things in threes, the Holy Trinity comes to mind. Especially since the colors of the balloons were white and red. One balloon was a reminder of the purity of the spotless Lamb, Jesus (it was white). The other two balloons were red - the Father and the Holy Spirit (in union with the Son). In the mind’s eye, the balloons remind us of a child. In the eyes of faith, the balloons (indirectly, and yet ever so clearly) remind us of God’s creative hand in everything surrounding us at every moment of every day in our lives.

In the course of the drive, my mind goes back-and-forth with the thought of meeting people I have not yet met, and for the first time ever – have to share some time with. Instead of becoming concerned or even ‘alarmed’ by the idea and thinking (with the mind’s eye) of what it is that we will do or say in the presence of some strangers, my eyes of faith fix themselves on the three balloons floating freely. I wish to be like them, trusting that God in his Triune Majesty, will provide me with the words to say in order to bring the message of His Son to the moment we encounter, and share the gift of presence with those who (like us) are in fact other ‘known’ members of our family of faith, just waiting to be ‘found’ and made one, in the Mystical body, the Church.

The secret power and effects of Love

This is the Spirit of Infinite Love.
The moment we recognize ourselves as one with the Love of God
– which is infinite –
we become so filled with love that we see only the good in all.

And when we realize that we are all one with the infinite God
(in the Holy Spirit, through our Lord, Jesus Christ),
then we realize that
- in a sense -
we are all one with each other.

When we come into a recognition of this fact
(God, creator of all things visible and invisible -
creates us all in His image and likeness),
we can then do no harm to any one, to any thing.

We find that we are all members of the one great (mystical) body, and that no portion of the body can be harmed without all the other portions (members) suffering, too.

When we fully realize or grasp the great fact of the oneness of all life,
- that we are all partakers from this one Infinite Source,
and so that the same life
is the life in each individual,
then prejudices go and hatreds cease.
Love grows and reigns supreme.

Then, wherever we go, whenever we come in contact with the fellowman (our neighbor), we are able to recognize God’s spirit within. We thus look only for the good, and we find it. It always pays.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Raising our minds to the majesty of God

Prayer: “Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful, and enkindle in us the fire of your love.” In particular, help me to break open the Word of God as it relates to the Book of Life, so that I may recognize God speaking to me, and be able to have a clear understanding of what God wishes for me to write in this reflection, and also, in all that I do in my life; so that everything will always be directed for the Glory of God in all his triune majesty. Amen.”

Having read from the Bible the stories of Creation and the life of the first Jewish people, the firstborn of God, I come to recognize how God always wishes to remain close to His children as all good fathers tend to do. His children, on the other hand, and mostly due to the sinful precondition of man (a fallen race in Adam) are always turning away in disobedience and distrust. God still waits for us to return to Him. In an infinitely patient way, God continues to guide His children throughout every step of our history, in the persons of the chosen ones who freely submit to the will of the LORD.

In saying yes to God, we acknowledge our fallen condition, our misery and our nothingness without Him. But, in order to receive the blessings from the LORD for a life well-lived, we are to pray, pray, pray. As our prayer from the heart rises to the Father, and we wait, God’s glory shines wondrously in all the events that unfold – for the LORD’s ways are not the ways of man.

This happened to Hannah when she prayed to the LORD in sorrow because she was barren, and wanted a son so desperately. God remembers her and gives her a son, Samuel. She glorifies the LORD in a beautiful prayer that foreshadows the prayer of Mary in the Magnificat. In the same way, God remembers each and every one of His created as we pray for His mercy and help.

God continually reminds us of two things: that there is no other God (“I am the only LORD”) and that we should not fear (“be not afraid”). To those who believed (believe) in the goodness of the LORD, and walked (walk) in His ways, were (are) always gratefully offering holocausts and/or singing praises to God for His majesty, which was (is) clearly manifested by the countless miracles that were (are) seen. However, to those who did (do) not believe and turned (turn) away from God in order to follow the way of what was (is) seen with the eyes of the flesh; the consequences that followed (follow) were (are) doom and despair and finally death in the spirit. For our God is a jealous God.

Friday, April 24, 2009

As we look to the sky: A lesson in nature

In the awakening moment of the day’s light (even though the sun is barely peering through the horizon) I find myself looking up to the heavens with my heart filled with joy in the hope of a new day-dawning full of promise and splendor.

The song I sing is in my heart where my beloved hears the words ever so clearly, for he alone understands the inner ways of my soul. He alone can bring the peace that my heart and soul long for day-in-and-day-out. If only I ask for this grace, then peace reigns wherever I go. As if transported by the very wings of God’s morning light, God reigns seated on the very little throne of my heart.

As I get ready to go about my daily tasks, and begin my journeying for the day, the sunshine is revealed in the skies in such a way as to be slightly hidden within the clouds, yet allowing the rays to clearly point the way to the source of light in the center.

An early pilot marks the skies with a thin line of white cloud-like smoke from the engine of its jet-plane, and my eyes follow the course of this diminutive (almost not perceptible) point of contact with the sky (because it is so far up it is hard to see with my naked eye). As I continue to gaze upward (like a child absorbed in awe) by the morning activity in the skies, I notice how the pilot’s course leads him directly into the hidden sun, and vanishes from my sight. In the following moments, even the line of cloud-like smoke is gone, as if the source willed to consume the little bit of evidence of the existence of a trail, together with the little pilot and his plane.

I came to understand that God is the Source, the Light. That in this life He is hidden yet revealed. That, as we are drawn to Him by the Son, the point of union is intense and personal, and culminates our purpose for journeying - in preparation for [what] “eye has not seen, ear has not heard [what] God has ready for those who love him.”

Prayer: Lord, you value us, caring for us so much and thinking so much of us. You set us in order and know where to place us in the hierarchy of being. (Commentary on Psalm 143, 10 St. Augustine)

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

God takes and God gives

(meditating on John 16:7)

Two years ago today, a beloved soul departed from this world because it was their time (to depart/to die).

It was good for this soul because it was the will of God, and it was sad for us because we had to let go of this dear one (in a physical way have them leave our company in this life).

It was good for the soul for their life of exile had ended, and it was good for us because we would mature in our faith believing more completely in the communion of saints, and the sharing in the Life everlasting.

When Jesus parted from this physical world only to take his rightful place at the right hand of the Father, he said it was much better for us (and his disciples) because the Father would send us the Holy Spirit.

With the Holy Spirit dwelling within, we grow in our faith journey, and continue to fulfill our mission with greater zeal and conviction.

In this way, when God calls us to depart from this life, we pray that we shall be ready to join the company of the saints, having lived and died according to the Father’s divine plan.

Prayer: Sacred heart of Jesus, have mercy on me, and on the whole world. Amen.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Spiritual motherhood for the sanctification of priests and the Church

What would we do without the Cross?
Life would be simply unbearable without pain.

From the Cross
in our Lord,
we are united,
We are able to attain graces
that will aid us in walking as followers of Christ.

As an offering this Lenten season,
some may be called to be as spiritual mothers
for the offering in prayers and sacrifices of self-denial
for the holy conversion of priests and the Church.

When we pray for and honor our priests,
we honor Jesus, Himself.

Our model for mothers is Mary.
She is our spiritual mother,
and mother of all priests, too.
We can go to her for guidance.
She will give us her heart if we only ask.
She will show us how to pray for holy conversion of priests,
She will teach us how to ponder all things in our little hearts, too;
Speaking only when it edifies,
keeping silent when it pains (in union with her Crucified).

Have we made a sincere effort to do good…?
fasting from unnecessary or hurtful conversation?
Fasting as in: “to do the will of the Heavenly Father”
as demonstrated by our Lord in the Gospels?

When we do the will of our Heavenly Father,
proudly, lovingly, joyfully…we unite to our Lord - on the Cross.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Love: Lesson number five

The final lesson in life.

We may love off-and-on while on earth,
but true love comes only from God above.

To love is to suffer-in-silence with a joyful smile.
To love is to give, and continue to give without measure.
To love is to die to self in order to do the will of God.

For to love is God.
God is Love.

Prayer: Lord, as we walk with You (always) at our side (and within our hearts), help us to keep our prayer always for love of You, as to be "without ceasing"(1 Thes 5:17)

Friday, March 13, 2009

Charity: Lesson number four

When young,
we live as if time is here to stay;
We fuss, we play…

Do we ever stop to care for others?
Others who are in need of our good presence?

the elderly, the hungry, the sick, the dying,
the lonely, and the list goes on?

It is not showing courage when we stop our play – but love,
when we stop to cherish others and their souls.

When we forget our moment of fussing or playing
and dedicate a moment to loving and caring,
we begin to experience the joy of charity.

After all,
we are but one –
to return to the One,
as One.

Prayer: Lord, teach us to learn from you by following your example of love. May Your word dwell in us so deeply, that we may do everything in the name of you (Jesus) giving thanks to our heavenly Father, always through you (Col 3:16-17) Amen.

Understanding: Lesson number three

After self-denial and patience one could more easily learn to become understanding of others…their needs, concerns, sorrows, joys.

In the words of many known saints and holy people we have heard again and again that; before anyone shows us understanding, we must learn to truly and honestly listen with a sincere heart in order to understand someone else.

To understand one another is the beginning of our journey to forever.

Prayer: Lord, we offer psalms and hymns and spiritual songs (Eph 5:19) as we offer to intercede for others by [our] prayer and petition (Phil 4:6) of thanksgiving (1 Thes 5:18)

Patience: Lesson number 2

The hardest of these is patience.

- counting to 10 or 100
- taking a deep breath
- ‘offering up’ in prayer or penance

Whatever action will help us to physically calm us down, and mentally hold back anything that is not of Love, allowing for a spiritual composure.

If we only remind ourselves that nothing surrounding our worldly existence is of any real lasting concern (including our bodies with or without vigor). These are all confinements to the soul. If we learn to recognize that nothing is ever worth concerning ourselves over in haste (if not for the love of God, and to carry in haste His love to others).

Prayer: Lord, help us to live with an ever vigilant awareness, being “watchful with all perseverance and supplication” (Eph 6:18)

Friday, March 6, 2009

As we look to the Cross

(A reflection on Romans 12:12)

Our Lord crucified, is the answer to all our prayers.

During the 40 days of Lent, as we turn our particular gaze to Jesus crucified, may we remember to also contemplate His heart, and in that place of predilection, begin to recognize the incredibly mysterious essence of God’s love revealed – for the salvation of each one of us sinners.

As I thank my sweet Lord for his love poured out for me (and you, and all humankind) I’m amazed at the tenderness in which he seeks me and waits for me, while I take forever to be found.

It is true that when we follow the holy example of Jesus’ life on earth, a life example in service to God’s people: tending to the suffering, the destitute, and the lost; we experience a life of peace.

This life of interior peace in turn leads to a rejoicing in the hope of the Lord’s resurrection. We know Jesus resurrected from the dead, and that one day all of us will also be participants of this truth revealed by our Lord himself.

Though my human heart says ‘yes’ to do God’s will, it can only remain a firm conviction in the essence of my being, if my Lord (Jesus) himself remains in me by the grace of the Holy Spirit acting within. In my limited heart there is only room for love, so I ask in constant prayer, that it be emptied of everything else that is not of love, in order to be made ready to receive the greatest gift. This I ask so that by God’s sanctifying grace, I may be all that I need to be in order to endure in times of trial (united to my Crucified).

Prayer: Abba, Father, grant to me (us) the grace of perseverance in prayer. That no matter how busy or complicated my life (our lives) may seem with all the ‘things’ we make ourselves busy with, that I (we) constantly keep You in my (our) heart(s) – remembering to pray, pray, pray - always in Jesus’ name. For if You are with us, who could be against us? Amen.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Self-denial: Lesson number one

Letting go of our selfish pride is so hard to do - most of the time.
We do not stop to look into the eyes of others...
We simply stare past their souls, and put-up all kinds of barricades so they won't be able to touch us.
If we can look into the eyes of each and every individual (or imagine we do), then it won't be so hard to let go and be humble - because we are looking into the eyes of Him who made us all.
He will always be forming us, until the end of time.
We do not need passing pleasures, if only we strive for God's happiness since it is eternal-lasting.
The pleasures (or pains) of this world are finite and soon to pass.
So in denying ourselves now, we might obtain our true and ultimate goal - God's Love, forever.

With shouts of Joy

On this special day
(though every day is special in its own way -
for you, Lord, make all days special by Your goodness)
I give praise and thanksgiving for two moments in particular.

The first moment
I give praise and thanksgiving for,
is the gift of my father's birth
84 years ago, today.
Because in later years,
I came to be born
of his union in marriage to my mother.
And for the precious gift of life,
we praise you, Lord.

The second joyful shout
is in thanksgiving for
my union in marriage to my spouse of 20 years, today.
Our Father in heaven
has been, and continues to be
so utterly and inexplicably generous to me and mine,
my little words of expression fail me,
and any utterance falls short
of the flood of love that reigns in our hearts
thanks to God's infinitely uncontainable Love.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Love for Neighbor as a sign of God’s Presence within

(meditating on 1 John 3:14)

Love for neighbor is the sign of new life in God. Those who bear God within them (lovingly in their hearts) will always extend their love (God’s love) to their neighbor (who is everyone they meet, live or work with).

Those who show no concern for their neighbor, show that they have not (yet) found the new life in God, or that they have lost it (again).

We must be constantly open to receive God’s love within (by emptying ourselves of any selfishness, pride, envy, jealousy, etc.); only allowing the entirety of our (whole) hearts to be filled with the love of God (which is infinite).

We can do this only, by fixing our eyes on our role model and lifelong example: Jesus Crucified.

Prayer: Father of all creatures, give us a child’s heart. Help us reach out to our brothers and sisters with Your love and compassion. For when we love, with your love, in your love and through your love (as Jesus points the Way, the Truth and the Life), we are made one in You. Amen.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

The ardor of Love raises souls to God’s presence

“…the Lord is always ready to give us Love; let us choose to receive with open, expansive hearts…” (St. Augustine)

The flame that burns within each one of us –
is there from the beginning,
as we were created in God’s image and likeness.

What we do with this flame,
and how we keep this flame burning
depends on the choices we make
as we live our lives on this earth (earthly pilgrimage).

If we could only see ourselves with the eyes of our Creator (who is all goodness)
we would strive from the very beginning,
to do good and walk in charity to our neighbor
(all those we meet and/or live and work with).

In this way, the ‘deposited’ flame within our souls/our hearts,
would grow – by the continued grace of God –
Who sustains us in our faith walk.

The littlest flame of love,
being ‘fanned’ by God’s infinite loving grace,
grows larger (all-encompassing)
the more we love in God’s goodness,
and the more we love – through God’s grace.

The burning flame continues to grow
until it is consumed (consummated)
by the Love who created all.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Entering into the reality of Being:

(on Genesis 1:26-27)

When God creates us in His image and likeness,
we start to come into a reality
that takes us beyond our physical being.

In this world, we see what we see,
and mostly, this is as far as our understanding allows us to go.

If we let ourselves be led by the hand of God,
He will teach us (as to the small child that we are)
how to walk according to the eternal reality in God.

The smaller we are (not only accepting, but celebrating our smallness)
God takes charge with greater strength and in His divine grace,
in directing our small steps
and takes us into the wonders of what really awaits us
in the presence of Being.

Understanding that only God can fill up our vast emptiness within,
and that there is nothing in this world capable of filling us as completely as in Him.
Then, we begin to see reality through the eyes of the soul,
breathing-in the enriching scent of our faith in God,
completely surrendered to hope in Christ-risen,
and living deeply in the eternal love of the Spirit.

After all, God has created us for Him.
To arrive to this reality, is more than enough.
Because in reality, God is everything,
and without Him, there is nothing.

Only by recognizing, accepting and celebrating how small we are,
we are able to begin to come into
the reality of our being into the Supreme Being.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

The duty of the present: united with God as we fulfill the duties of the present moment

We must welcome the Will of God
however the Will manifests in our lives.

We must keep going forward
moving toward the One
who is the same goal for us all;
but we must travel
by our own individual path,
united in our obedience to God.
As He manifests His Will so differently
to each one of us.

We must be obedient
and totally surrender to the present moment as God wills.
We must keep our attention
focused on what is happening now
in order to fulfill the duties entrusted to the present moment.

In God's time
He will be all in all.
For now,
we must live entirely for God.
he will arrange all things in due time.

When we abandon ourselves to the will of God,
and allow His will to rule our lives,
what is important to remember is:
to do our little task at hand
with all our love -
totally devoted to the present moment
forgetting ourselves and our needs.
The more devoted we are to the little task of the moment,
the more God will work wonders in embellishing it as He deems proper
"God works wonders for those He loves" (Ps 4:3)

Let us always stay united to God by Love.
Let us always work together with the Will of God
by a steady and simple submission (obedience),
a complete forgetfulness of self (like a child absorbed in the little task).

Let us go straight ahead.
God has the map of our lives, and holds the sculpting chisel in His divine hand.
Like a little rock who questions not how the sculptor will shape it,
let us leave the sculpting, to God alone
who knows (from all time) how we are shaped, chiseled, molded, painted...
in order to become all that He (alone) has destined us to be.

In the final moment
when God (alone) deems proper
and has completed the task of forming us
as His divine will dictates,
He will hold a mirror before us (the little rocks)
so we can see (with the eyes of faith)
the final creation from His hands.
Then, and only then,
will we know God - face to face.

For Your Marriage - Por Tu Matrimonio

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