Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Grace Pouring Down

"Your grace is like rain pouring down on me night and day." *
Grace? Are you familiar with that word?

In order to receive from our Father the blessings He desires to bestow on his children we need grace. This is undeserved help from God, and best of all, it's free. We need grace to be able to respond to God's love, to live as his children, inherit his blessings and especially eternal life.

So it is very important to be in a habit of asking for the graces we need and desire. This is another excellent practice that will lead us on the road of holiness--to a life of intimacy with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit--the Most Holy Trinity.

Now back to "grace is like rain pouring down..." think of rain--a really good rain shower, nothing severe, but like a heavy rain that waters the parched earth. Rain that makes everything fruitful. When this rain of grace comes, it covers us--every part of us from head to toe. When we say it is pouring rain, we mean it is showering, not sprinkling--it's the difference between a lot and a little bit. It's abundant grace that He's pouring out on his children, in the light and the dark, in the night and the day, in the good times and the bad, in sickness and health, when I slumber and when I am awake--at all times. His love never ceases.

Christ said, "The water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of living water, welling up into eternal life." John 4: 14

Listen to what Saint Cyril of Jerusalem said long ago in response to that holy scripture, "This is a new kind of water, a living, leaping water, welling up for those who are worthy. But why did Christ call the grace of the Spirt water? Because all things are dependent on water; plants and animals have their origin in water. Water comes down from heaven as rain, and although it is always the same in itself, it produces many different effects, one on the palm tree, another in the vine, and so on throughout the whole of creation. It does not come down, now as one thing, now as another, but while remaining essentially the same, it adapts itself to the needs of every creature that receives it."

Saint Cyril continued, "In the same way the Holy Spirit, whose nature is always the same, simple and indivisible, apportions grace to each man as he wills. Like a dry tree which puts forth shoots when watered, the soul bears the fruit of holiness when repentance has made it worthy of receiving the Holy Spirit."

So, let us pray, Father, rain down your grace upon us and open our hearts to repentance so that the well of living water may spring up within us. Give us what we need and what our hearts desire--more of You! Let the grace that pours upon us make us loving, fruitful and magnanimous people who lead good and holy lives and help others on the path that leads to eternal life. Amen!

* Bao La Tinh Chua

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Almighty God

Songs of many different cultures refresh my soul.
Yesterday, I shared the refrain to a Vietnamese song
called "Bao La Tinh Chua".

Each line in the refrain seemed rich with abundant life
as I sat and pondered it, so I want to sip each with you.

The first line of refrain begins with--Almighty God--
need I go any further yet?

What does it mean to be Almighty?

God, who created everything, is called the Father Almighty.
First, He loves us and so created everything for us.
Additionally, He rules everything and can do everything, and
ultimately, "nothing will be impossible with God." Lk 1:37

When I personalize this and believe firmly, as I suggest is a good practice, I say to myself--God is my loving Father and I am his adoring daughter. He created me, loves me, cares for me, provides for me, converts me, restores me, and refreshes me daily.

He is a universal Father meaning he's created everyone everywhere,
and will do the same for each of us as we firmly believe
in His almighty love and power.

Monday, May 9, 2016

"Bao La Tinh Chua"

"God's Love is Great"
Almighty God, your grace is like rain
pouring down on me night and day.
You hold me in your loving hands.
With You in me, my life flows peacefully.
You guide me on the right path and walk with me.
I am not alone.
Oh, how wonderful your love is.

refrain to the Vietnamese song "Bao La Tinh Chua"

Monday, April 25, 2016

Blue Skies and Butterflies

They've been there all my life. Blue skies and butterflies. But they became electric.
When my sister passed away, the sky was so blue. She loved the song "Blue Skies". The earth stood still that day within my soul. Some big part of me died too.

I think it was my heart. It's a good thing hearts can resurrect, just like Jesus did on the third day.
And now we can all cross over to the other side.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Prayer Walking

This is my favorite form of exercise--prayer walking. Okay, so I’m killing two birds with one stone. The old expression meaning, I achieved two things with one action. This is something I’ve enjoyed doing for decades. It’s a discipline—that is, sometimes I have to force my will to get to the park where there’s a walking trail. The first half mile I can feel a little stiff, but going on the second mile I’m loosened up and happy to be there.

Yes, there are certain prayers I pray—I meditate on the mysteries of the rosary for the day. BTW, those mysteries focus on the life of Christ, not Mary as some are mistaken. Then I call on the litany of my favorite saints and invite them to come and be with me—to intercede. A few of them are: St. Therese of Liseaux, St. Joseph, St. Benedict, St. John Paul…who I call on is a whole other story—so for now…I continue brisk walking and pray for the sanctification of priests whom I know and then usually pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy before my three miles are finished. Somewhere in between the litany and chaplet, I listen after asking the Lord to speak to me—in that still small voice.

Today I received lovely thoughts about motherhood, from conception to the birth of a child and how that nine month period puts mothers in the throes of the paschal mystery. The what? Paschal mystery—meaning the dying, rising and going forth of life. Like Jesus when he lived, then died and rose again. It’s what we experience in life whether we realize it or not.

So regarding motherhood, I was thinking about the joy of conception—there’s a rising, generally, speaking until the first bump in the road of pregnancy—maybe that “bump” is slight morning sickness or perhaps more severe, maybe there is tiredness, or repulsion of certain foods, and thus we’re dying to self. We cooperate with this experience of discomfort to bring life into this world. One day we might feel well and the next day not so much. And such is the paschal mystery that can change from day to day, week to week or month to month. Certainly throughout nine months or a year we’ve been on a roller coaster ride of the paschal mystery—up and down, again and again, dying and rising and going forth.

But here’s the main point that resonated with me this morning on my walk—there’s birth after dying—there’s rising to new life, like after Jesus’ passion and death, there was the resurrection of his body.

When women go into labor to deliver the child, that’s real suffering—real dying—pain brings death to self--not literally, but figuratively speaking. But, then the child is born. There is new life. So remember whenever you are going through painful experiences and dying to self, there is new life coming.

New life coming--now take that thought on your next prayer walk!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Peace quotes by saints


A great means to preserve continual peace and tranquility of soul is to receive everything from the hands of God, both great and small, and in whatever way it comes.
--St. Dorotheus

'See, my children, a person who is in a state of sin is always sad. Whatever he does, he is weary and disgusted with every thing; while he who is at peace with God is always happy, always joyous. . . Oh, beautiful life! Oh, beautiful death!'
--St. Jean Marie Baptiste Vianney

He who is humble easily obeys everyone, fears to offend anyone, is at peace with everyone, is kind with all.
--St Thomas of Villanova

"Mankind will not have peace until it turns with trust to My mercy." (300)
--Diary of St Faustina, Divine Mercy in my Soul

Who except God can give you peace? Has the world ever been able to satisfy the heart?
--Saint Gerard Majella

“If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.”
--Blessed Mother Teresa

“Never be in a hurry; do everything quietly and in a calm spirit. Do not lose your inner peace for anything whatsoever, even if your whole world seems upset.”
--St. Francis de Sales

"Keep your soul at peace, in order to be able to be attentive and very faithful to the inner movement of the Holy Spirit." (To Mme. Stephanie Gourde, November 25, 1850)
--Saint Peter Julian Eymard

“Peace begins with a smile.”
--Blessed Mother Teresa

“If you want to make peace, you don't talk to your friends. You talk to your enemies.”
--Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta

“Let us more and more insist on raising funds of love, of kindness, of understanding, of peace. The rest will be given.”
--Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta

"While you are proclaiming peace with your lips, be careful to have it even more fully in your heart."
--Saint Francis of Assisi

"Be at peace with your own soul, then heaven and earth will be at peace with you."
--Saint Jerome

The servants of God...whether provoked by word or work, by keeping themselves tranquil and peaceful, evince a perfect nobleness of soul.”
--Saint Thomas Aquinas

”By humility a man finds grace before God and peace with men.”
--Blessed Giles of Assisi

”We must sometimes bear with little defects in others, as we have, against our will, to bear with natural defects in ourselves. If we wish to keep peace with our neighbor, we should never remind anyone of his natural defects.”
--Saint Philip Neri

”The more a person loves God, the more reason he has to hope in Him. This hope produces in the Saints an unutterable peace, which they preserve even in adversity, because as they love God, and know how beautiful He is to those who love Him, they place all their confidence and find all their repose in Him alone.”
--Saint Alphonsus Liguori

"Opting for peace does not mean a passive acquiescence to evil or compromise of principle. It demands an active struggle against hatred, oppression and disunity, but not by using methods of violence. Building peace requires creative and courageous action."
--Pope John Paul II

She  who is silent everywhere finds peace.
--St. Teresa Margaret

She who desires peace must see, suffer and be silent.
--St. Teresa Margaret

“Always receive with equal contentment from God’s hand either consolations or sufferings, peace or distress, health or illness. Ask nothing, refuse nothing, but always be ready to do and to suffer anything that comes from His Providence.”
--St. Teresa Margaret

Our souls may lose their peace and even disturb other people's, if we are always criticizing trivial actions - which often are not real defects at all, but we construe them wrongly through our ignorance of their motives.
--Saint Teresa

Peace is the work of justice indirectly, in so far as justice removes the obstacles to peace; but it is the work of charity (love) directly, since charity according to its very notion, causes peace.
--Thomas Aquinas
All works of love are works of peace.
--Blessed Mother Teresa

Let us not be justices of the peace, but angels of peace.
--St. Therese of Lisieux

Let us go forward in peace, our eyes upon heaven, the only one goal of our labors.
--St. Therese of Lisieux

Peace is not just the absence of war. Like a cathedral, peace must be constructed patiently and with unshakable faith.
--Pope John Paul II

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Have Salt in Yourselves!

Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another (Mark 9:50).

Funny how you can come across a scripture verse that grabs your attention and you think "Was that always there?"
Have salt in yourselves? What on earth does that mean?
Since last Sunday's gospel reading was about being salt and light in this world, I've been reflecting on its meaning for me.
Our Pastor, Monsignor Daniel Mueggenborg, challenged us with a few good images of salt:
We are to be people who "flavor" all aspects of our lives and relationships with the values of the Gospel.
We are to be people who pray and guard against temptation so as to preserve ourselves and others from the corruption of sin and human vices.
We are to be people who constantly purify our lives by removing what is contrary to the Gospel or distorted in our priorities.
We are to be people who unite our difficulties and persecutions of faith with the sacrifice of Jesus so as to be offered with Him to the Father.
Lastly, we are to be a people who become catalysts of conversion in the world so as to allow the fire of faith to catch more quickly in people's lives, to burn more intensely in our hearts and theirs, and last longer.
Which of these images of "salt" has special meaning for you? And why?

Be filled with salt and be at peace, my friends!