Life is a journey; the choices you make now will determine your eternal destination.

Sunday, October 30, 2011


Let's think for a moment about the meaning of holy. Here's how Websters defines it:

exalted or worthy of complete devotion as one perfect in goodness and righteousness
and also:
having a divine quality 
and divine being defined as :
of, relating to, or proceeding directly from God 
 Which brings me to the subject I've been thinking of for a while now, the Holy Cross. My parish is called Holy Cross. Lately, I've been dealing with a lot of people who are suffering in one way or another; some with disease, some with death of a family member, some with temporal affairs gone awry, and it brings to mind the Bible passage :
And he said to all: If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me." (Luke 9:23)
This is also found in Mark 8:34 and  Matthew 16: 24.
So many people don't get the connection between suffering and holiness. I am sure you have heard someone say, "if God is so good, why does he allow suffering?" as if it is our right to go through life without suffering. We have only to look at the Cross to realize that it is not a right, that the precedent was set for us by our Savior.  If we link our suffering, the Cross that is our particular Cross to bear, with the suffering of Jesus, it becomes a Holy Cross instead of a crushing burden. It becomes the way of salvation for us.
When we see the suffering of innocents, this becomes harder to understand. I can only think of them as victim souls, who pay the price for the great iniquities of the world. The Church teaches that God allows suffering that good may come from it. We may not understand it, and it may not happen in our lifetime. There are as many opinions on this subject as there are churches, and I'm no theologian, so I will leave it to wiser heads than mine to discourse on this subject. But I do think that heaven has many souls who were innocent sufferers on this earth. I also think that the Cross they bore was a Holy one.
When we have a Cross to bear, whether it be illness, poverty, or pain, we can make it a Holy Cross, or we can revile it and curse it- either way, what we do with it is our choice, and it is a choice that can lead to eternal holiness or eternal cursedness. God also gave us free will.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Trust and Confidence

It's been a while since I posted, and I do have a lot of things on my mind, but trying to make them cohesive enough to do a post is difficult. It's not really spiritual dryness, more like procrastination.
I've been thinking about the relationship between trust and confidence. We are told to trust in God, to trust in the Sacred Heart of Jesus. We can glibly say, Jesus, I trust in You, but in our heart of hearts, do we really, or is it just lip service? Like the Pharisees, do we stand on the street corner, crying Lord, Lord? It is a great leap of faith to truly trust that which we cannot see. We are blind in our humanity, unable to see things Divine, and yet our soul thirsts for that closeness to God.
To trust, we must have confidence. In God's love for us, and in His mercy. Confidence that He hears our prayers. Confidence in the teachings of the Church, in the wisdom handed down to us. Confidence  and trust come from humbling ourselves, not in relying on our own judgement. Doubt, pride and self love are tools of the devil.
As usual I find that Thomas a Kempis has it so well written in the Imitation of Christ, Book III:

The Fifty-Ninth Chapter



WHAT, Lord, is the trust which I have in this life, or what is my greatest comfort among all the things that appear under heaven? Is it not You, O Lord, my God, Whose mercies are without number? Where have I ever fared well but for You? Or how could things go badly when You were present? I had rather be poor for Your sake than rich without You. I prefer rather to wander on the earth with You than to possess heaven without You. Where You are there is heaven, and where You are not are death and hell. You are my desire and therefore I must cry after You and sigh and pray. In none can I fully trust to help me in my necessities, but in You alone, my God. You are my hope. You are my confidence. You are my consoler, most faithful in every need.
All seek their own interests. You, however, place my salvation and my profit first, and turn all things to my good. Even though exposing me to various temptations and hardships, You Who are accustomed to prove Your loved ones in a thousand ways, order all this for my good. You ought not to be loved or praised less in this trial than if You had filled me with heavenly consolations.
In You, therefore, O Lord God, I place all my hope and my refuge. On You I cast all my troubles and anguish, because whatever I have outside of You I find to be weak and unstable. It will not serve me to have many friends, nor will powerful helpers be able to assist me, nor prudent advisers to give useful answers, nor the books of learned men to console, nor any precious substance to win my freedom, nor any place, secret and beautiful though it be, to shelter me, if You Yourself do not assist, comfort, console, instruct, and guard me. For all things which seem to be for our peace and happiness are nothing when You are absent, and truly confer no happiness.
You, indeed, are the fountain of all good, the height of life, the depth of all that can be spoken. To trust in You above all things is the strongest comfort of Your servants.
My God, the Father of mercies, to You I look, in You I trust. Bless and sanctify my soul with heavenly benediction, so that it may become Your holy dwelling and the seat of Your eternal glory. And in this temple of Your dignity let nothing be found that might offend Your majesty. In Your great goodness, and in the multitude of Your mercies, look upon me and listen to the prayer of Your poor servant exiled from You in the region of the shadow of death. Protect and preserve the soul of Your poor servant among the many dangers of this corruptible life, and direct him by Your accompanying grace, through the ways of peace, to the land of everlasting light.