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

Sunday, December 23, 2012

My journey, continued.

I haven't forgotten this blog, I have just had a post brewing that I wasn't sure how to write. I'm still not sure, but I'm going to give it a go.
In many of the lives of Saints, you read about their humility, and how they consider themselves to be the least of humankind- and are happy about that, even strive for it. I've been reading the City of God, the story of Mary, and she too considers herself the least among God's creatures.
We give honor to Mary as the Mother of God, calling her mankind's solitary boast; how can she be the least of creatures?
Jesus said to Sr. Josefa Mendez that He desired her to consider her nothingness, that He chose her because she was the least among mortals, the littlest one.
How on earth are we to strive for that kind of humility? Our human nature rallies against it, seeking always for our place among men, to be respected, admired and looked up to. We love compliments, and appreciate being told that we have done well. We strive to do our best and be appreciated for our efforts. How then, do we seek that littleness that is so great in the eyes of our Lord?
Can we always do our best, be competitive, try to make a difference in this world and still be humble?
Apparently we can, but it requires a great deal of grace. Think of Mother Theresa and the great difference she made in the world, while being the poorest and most humble of women.
There is a little glimmer of the light of understanding for me; that to achieve this we must die to ourselves and live for God. Yes, I know this has been said many times before, but it's a concept that is extremely hard to implement, especially for someone as willful as I. To use some imagery, it's like my life is a wide, tumultuous plane, and in the far distance is a little black speck; I must shed all the turmoil and become that little speck, and once I have done that, it will open unto the beginning of Light, and grow as I become more of what God desires me to be.
May I be granted the graces I need to achieve that goal.

Friday, November 2, 2012

From a soul in Purgatory

I love the focus on Purgatory in November, because of my desire to pray for them. Too soon we neglect our prayers for our friends and relatives who have passed away, as we get caught up in our daily grind. That friend you knew as a child, that distant aunt or great grandparent doesn't often cross our minds, but if they are in purgatory how they need our prayers!
 Here is an excerpt from a manuscript on Purgatory, from a nun in Purgatory talking to another (living) nun.
A suffering soul in purgatory to Sister M. at a cloister in 19th century France (from Unpublished Manuscript on Purgatory):

"If you could only know what I suffer! Pray for me, please. I suffer intensely everywhere. My God, how merciful You are! No one can imagine what Purgatory is like. Be kind and take pity on the poor souls.

"May 1874. I have been in the second Purgatory since the Feast of the Annunciation. On that day I saw the Blessed Virgin for the first time. In the first stage, we never saw her. The sight of her encourages us and this beloved Mother speaks to us of Heaven. While we see her, our sufferings are greatly diminished.

"You do well to pray to St. Michael and to urge others to do so. One is indeed happy at the hour of death when he has had confidence in some of the saints. They will be his protectors before God in that terrible moment.

"Make it a practice to live in the presence of God with a pure intention. God seeks devoted souls who will love Him for His own sake. These are very few. He wants you to be one of His true friends. Many think they love God, but they love Him for their own sakes.
"February 1875. Watch carefully over your interior life. Keep all your small troubles for Jesus alone. He is well able to make up to you for whatever He takes from you. Your life must be one of unceasing interior acts of love and of mortification, but God alone must know of it. Do nothing extraordinary. Lead a very hidden life, yet one closely united to Jesus.

"Love God very much. How happy are the souls that do this. They possess a treasure! The great penance of your life will be, not the absence of your Jesus but great sorrow for all the pain you have given Him, by your failure to love Him as you desire, in return for the overwhelming number of graces which He has showered upon you and which He will continue to shower upon you.

"Love everyone, but do not put your trust entirely in anyone, because Jesus wants to be your great confidant. Everything for Him and for Him alone. Perform all your actions in the presence of God as I have so often told you. Consult Him before all you do or say. Let your life be one of faith and love... Do nothing to distinguish yourself. Without offending anyone, avoid the company of those who are too unreserved and those who are uncharitable. As for yourself, be busy about your own affairs. Keep your opinions to yourself and never express them unless obliged to do so. Be preoccupied with only that one subject, the mainspring of your life, Jesus.

"December 8, 1875. Love God intensely. Do not fear your own suffering. Trust in Him, never in yourself. Die to yourself from morning to night... Do not breathe or live except for Jesus Christ. God must be your only confidant. Complain to no one except for Him. Be quite hidden from the eyes of everyone else.

"Feast of the Annunciation. When God wishes a soul to be entirely His, He begins by crushing it, very much as apples are crushed in the press—to extract its passions, its self-seeking, in a word, all its defects. When a soul is sufficiently broken, He reshapes it according to His will. If it is faithful, it is soon transformed. Only then does Jesus load it with His choicest graces and inundate it with His love.

"Jesus wants you to deal with Him, as with an intimate friend, without any fear whatsoever. It is true that His Majesty is frightening and that you are not worthy to have such intimate converse with your Jesus, but is He not the Master that enriches whomsoever He wills? Ask Jesus to make you rich in every virtue, as He wishes you to be, but in the meantime, shape your life in accordance with His inspirations. Enlarge your heart because what Jesus desires above all things is to see in it His love. What wonderful graces you will receive if you are faithful, graces you have never even thought of.

"May 12th. Mortify yourself corporally, but more especially spiritually. Forget yourself. Deny yourself in everything. Never look at what others are doing. God does not demand the same perfection from everyone. All are not enlightened in the same way, but you, whom Jesus Himself enlightens, look only to Him, let Him be your aim and object in everything.

"Never grow weary in your work. Begin each day as if you had so far done nothing. This continual renouncement of one’s will and comfort and one’s own opinions is a long martyrdom, but it is most pleasing to God. God wants you to be something special, not as regards your exterior, but in your inner soul. He asks of you a union with Himself, so great that you never lose sight of Him, even amidst your absorbing occupations.

"While on earth one truly cannot picture or imagine what God really is, but we (in Purgatory) know and understand Him for what He is, because our souls are freed from all the ties that fettered them and prevented them from realizing the holiness and majesty of God, and His great mercy. We are martyrs, consumed as it were by love. An irresistible force draws us towards God who is our center, but at the same time another force thrusts us back to our place of expiation. We are in the state of being unable to satisfy our longings. Oh, what a suffering that is, but we desire it and there is no murmuring against God here. We desire only what God wants. You on earth, however, cannot possibly understand what we have to endure.

"Be ingenious in mortifying yourself and in breaking your own will. Be especially nice to those who are less agreeable to you than to others, no matter what wrong they may have done to you. This means renouncing yourself and pleasing Jesus. Nothing else matters. It is on these occasions that you must silence the human will, but you must do it because Jesus wills it. Do not allow self-love to get the upper hand, but do all blindly to please Jesus alone."

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Your choice- heaven or hell

There are many videos and stories about near death experiences; what I liked about this one is when she says that our final destination is something that we can choose, and work toward. Not many have visions of hell like this lady did. I know of many people who have committed suicide, and I always grieve for their souls, knowing that despair is a tool of the devil.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Assisted Suicide and murder- one and the same

I've always been against assisted suicide. I'm Catholic, after all. Death is not ours to deal out. I believe that people who kill in the name of the law, whether it be abortion or assisted suicide, have murder in their heart. They aren't coming from a place of love and compassion, and please spare me the "I can't stand to see them suffer" argument. These people want to get rid of the nuisance of another's suffering (and in the case of abortion, getting rid of the nuisance that being responsible for another's life is to them). Counseling and abetting the death of another human being, in utero or in person, is tantamount to committing murder.
The recent case of Kenneth Carr is a prime example. This man was a murderer to start with, and used assisted suicide as a means to prey on women and cause their death.
Assisted suicide, euthanasia, abortion- it's all murder. It's all the death of a human being at the whim of another.
How much longer until the murder of a healthy person is socially acceptable and protected under law? Isn't it already?

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

There is always hope and healing

I have had discussions over the last few years with people about the effects of sin in families and how it carries through from generations before us- as the Bible says, the sins of the fathers are visited on the children unto the fourth generation- and I have seen the effect of this in my own family. I read today this article, and it gives hope that the chain of sin can be broken.  Of course, it involves prayer! While we may be victims of our surroundings and family circumstances, we can be healed and break the viscous circle that the devil tries to keep us ensnared within.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

My Journey, continued: Making prayer a habit

"Few souls understand what God would accomplish in them if they were to abandon themselves unreservedly to Him and if they were to allow His grace to mold them accordingly."

-- St. Ignatius Loyola

But how do we do that? As it says in the Bible, pray unceasingly. To pray is to be conscious of the Presence of God, after all in prayer we are talking to Him, in praise and petition and thanksgiving.
That being said, how does the average person come about a life of prayer? Sure, we go to Mass, and pray the Rosary every day (some of us) and we thank Him in the morning and evening. But as for me, I need little reminders throughout  the day, to pray or to offer up what I'm doing for His greater Glory.
Here are some of the things I use to help me do that- simple things that are daily occurrences.
~First, when I have pain, I ask that it be for penance for my sins.
~When I hear the siren of an ambulance or police car, I pray 3 Hail Mary's for the people involved.
~When I pass a roadside cross, I pray the requiem prayer for the person who died there.
~Whenever I look at the clock and the numbers are all the same, eg. 5:55 or 12:12 etc., I pray for the grace of final perseverance for the souls in their death agony at that moment. (And you'd be surprised how this develops into the ability to look at the clock at just that perfect moment, as though souls are crying out for your prayer).
~In the 3 o'clock hour, AM and PM, I pray the chaplet of Divine Mercy for the dying and certain souls.
~When I pass a Catholic Church, even if it is closed down and abandoned, I make the sign of the Cross to honour Jesus.
 I know that there are many more ways to remember to pray, such as the Angelus at 6, 12 and 6, but I  can never seem to remember to do that one. I would love to hear suggestions from my readers on little ways of prayer.

Sunday, July 22, 2012


This beautiful statue of Our Lady of Lourdes is in our churchyard.... at least, it was. On Friday night, vandals climbed up and pushed it over- it weighs about 600 pounds, so they put a lot of effort into their destruction. Here's another view of the whole grotto:
The flat part just below St. Bernadette is used as an altar for outdoor Masses, and one was scheduled for Saturday morning.When we arrived for Mass this morning we were heartsick to see the statue head down and broken. We have no evidence as to the identity of the vandals other than some footprints on the altar section, so we know there were at least two people.
The statue will be sent to Calgary to be repaired, and the grotto looks lonely without Mary there. During Mass, I prayed for the vandals, who are so contemptuous of the Mother of God that  they would deliberately deface her statue. I prayed for Mary's intercession for their conversion. I thought about how some Muslims would react if this were a statue of Mohammed, defaced, and that those who did it would probably be hunted down and killed. And how we, as Catholics, are called to pray for sinners and not to exact retribution of that sort- but I'd sure like to catch them and make them pay for the damage and make a public admission of guilt.
There has been a spree of vandalism in our town lately- senseless acts of violence against objects,  things destroyed just for some warped sense of fun. I worry that this behaviour will escalate into violence against people. Especially if they continue to get away with these acts, and have no retribution, no accounting for their actions, it could easily escalate.
Senseless acts of violence, like the shootings in Aurora, have beginnings such as these.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

My Journey, Continued-Goals

We all set goals... little ones, bigger ones. We want to improve our health, so we set goals to improve our diet, or set up an exercise program; we take training to reach a goal of better employment; we want to take a vacation so we set a goal of saving money to afford it; and so on. To desire something, you have to plan on how to achieve it.
As I continue on my journey through this life, my goal is stronger and more clear with each passing year: Heaven. There is nothing I want more, no goal of earthly achievement  that even compares to the strength of this desire.
Jesus said, (Mat.11 30) For my yoke is sweet and my burden light. But that does not mean that the struggle is not great, for we are weighed down by our faults. Every one that we shed, that we work hard to overcome, lightens the burden.
The Bible is the greatest guide we have; the Church is the greatest teacher; the Communion of Saints are our mentors. The resources are all there, we only have to take what works for us in our given moment of need. The Mass, prayer, spiritual reading, living our faith, practicing the Virtues, sacrifice; these are among the stepping stones to Heaven. Sometimes we lose sight of our goals, until something happens and we get back on track. We fall. We get up again, like Jesus on the Way of the Cross, and continue. For this goal is the only one that matters; if we achieve this goal, all else will be as it should be. If we keep this end in sight, the yoke is sweet, and the burden light, no matter how heavy they may seem at the time.

From the Imitation of Christ:

The Forty-Ninth Chapter



MY CHILD, when you feel the desire for everlasting happiness poured out upon you from above, and when you long to depart out of the tabernacle of the body that you may contemplate My glory without threat of change, open wide your heart and receive this holy inspiration with all eagerness. Give deepest thanks to the heavenly Goodness which deals with you so understandingly, visits you so mercifully, stirs you so fervently, and sustains you so powerfully lest under your own weight you sink down to earthly things. For you obtain this not by your own thought or effort, but simply by the condescension of heavenly grace and divine regard. And the purpose of it is that you may advance in virtue and in greater humility, that you may prepare yourself for future trials, that you may strive to cling to Me with all the affection of your heart, and may serve Me with a fervent will.
My child, often, when the fire is burning the flame does not ascend without smoke. Likewise, the desires of some burn toward heavenly things, and yet they are not free from temptations of carnal affection. Therefore, it is not altogether for the pure honor of God that they act when they petition Him so earnestly. Such, too, is often your desire which you profess to be so strong. For that which is alloyed with self-interest is not pure and perfect.
Ask, therefore, not for what is pleasing and convenient to yourself, but for what is acceptable to Me and is for My honor, because if you judge rightly, you ought to prefer and follow My will, not your own desire or whatever things you wish.
I know your longings and I have heard your frequent sighs. Already you wish to be in the liberty of the glory of the sons of God. Already you desire the delights of the eternal home, the heavenly land that is full of joy. But that hour is not yet come. There remains yet another hour, a time of war, of labor, and of trial. You long to be filled with the highest good, but you cannot attain it now. I am that sovereign Good. Await Me, until the kingdom of God shall come.
You must still be tried on earth, and exercised in many things. Consolation will sometimes be given you, but the complete fullness of it is not granted. Take courage, therefore, and be strong both to do and to suffer what is contrary to nature.
You must put on the new man. You must be changed into another man. You must often do the things you do not wish to do and forego those you do wish. What pleases others will succeed; what pleases you will not. The words of others will be heard; what you say will be accounted as nothing. Others will ask and receive; you will ask and not receive. Others will gain great fame among men; about you nothing will be said. To others the doing of this or that will be entrusted; you will be judged useless. At all this nature will sometimes be sad, and it will be a great thing if you bear this sadness in silence. For in these and many similar ways the faithful servant of the Lord is wont to be tried, to see how far he can deny himself and break himself in all things.
There is scarcely anything in which you so need to die to self as in seeing and suffering things that are against your will, especially when things that are commanded seem inconvenient or useless. Then, because you are under authority, and dare not resist the higher power, it seems hard to submit to the will of another and give up your own opinion entirely.
But consider, my child, the fruit of these labors, how soon they will end and how greatly they will be rewarded, and you will not be saddened by them, but your patience will receive the strongest consolation. For instead of the little will that you now readily give up, you shall always have your will in heaven. There, indeed, you shall find all that you could desire. There you shall have possession of every good without fear of losing it. There shall your will be forever one with Mine. It shall desire nothing outside of Me and nothing for itself. There no one shall oppose you, no one shall complain of you, no one hinder you, and nothing stand in your way. All that you desire will be present there, replenishing your affection and satisfying it to the full. There I shall render you glory for the reproach you have suffered here; for your sorrow I shall give you a garment of praise, and for the lowest place a seat of power forever. There the fruit of glory will appear, the labor of penance rejoice, and humble subjection be gloriously crowned.
Bow humbly, therefore, under the will of all, and do not heed who said this or commanded that. But let it be your special care when something is commanded, or even hinted at, whether by a superior or an inferior or an equal, that you take it in good part and try honestly to perform it. Let one person seek one thing and another something else. Let one glory in this, another in that, and both be praised a thousand times over. But as for you, rejoice neither in one or the other, but only in contempt of yourself and in My pleasure and honor. Let this be your wish: That whether in life or in death God may be glorified in you.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Music to soothe

When I'm upset with someone, or even with myself, I find the only thing that (other than my horses)  can quickly dispel the angst and knots is sacred music. So today, I turned to music....

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Remembering Sharron

Today is the 45th anniversary of the death of my sister Sharron. I think of her often and always pray for the salvation of her soul. It's a comforting thing that God hears our prayers outside of time and that the prayers I offer for her could possibly be applied to the moment of her death and contribute to the grace of final perseverance for her. May her patron saint, St. Therese of the Roses intercede for her.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Come, Holy Ghost.....

Here is a good defense of the language difference between saying "Holy Ghost" and "Holy Spirit". I prefer "Ghost" for pretty much the reasons stated in this link.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Mystics of the Church: Amazing stories from Purgatory and the afterlife

Because of my love for and dedication to pray for, the Holy Souls in Purgatory, I want to share this blog post  which should fire you up with a desire to pray for those Holy souls:
Mystics of the Church: Amazing stories from Purgatory and the afterlife: Short stories of Purgatory -A remarkable collection of visits from the souls in Purgatory to various Saints and Mystics. “I know wh...

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The end or the beginning

In the last two days, I've been told of two deaths. Two very different deaths. First, a man who set fire to his house, and then shot himself. The second, my mother in law who faded away into a natural death. The suicide uses death as an escape from whatever they can't face about life, and gives in to despair and darkness. The natural death, accompanied by the suffering one faces with old age, contains hope, even in the face of suffering- and that is something that people who don't have God in their lives don't understand; in fact I was talking to a friend shortly before I got the news of my mother in law's death, and he was saying that the government should allow people who are terminally ill to take their own lives with the assistance of prescription drugs. This is a common attitude these days. What difference between the man who shot himself, and someone who opts for a prescription drug to do the job? There is horror for the one, and acceptance for the other. But it is the same thing- a lack of respect for life, and a failure to understand that all life is a gift from God, and therefore precious even if it is accompanied by mental or physical suffering. People are so afraid of suffering, so full of self-love that they  can't imagine accepting suffering; that only good things should happen to them or life is not worth living. What they miss is that temporal suffering can make amends for their sinful lives, and prepare their soul to be acceptable to God. I would rather suffer than lose God for eternity. Death opens the door to eternity, but those who do not believe don't understand that. They see only this world, from the narrowness of their own perspective. To me, that is the saddest thing, because so very many people are like that. So many souls who don't have God to turn to, so many souls who could ask for His mercy, so many souls who are likely to suffer the eternal fire of the absence of God, which they have chosen. These are the souls I pray for.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Flawed Reasoning

Well it's rant time. One of the reasons I hate Facebook is because people post "inspirational" slogans and many of them have hidden agendas- or in this case, blatant stupidity, and people mindlessly jump on the bandwagon and hit "share" without thinking things through. The case in point is the recent one circulating about how "homosexuality is found in 450 species in nature, and homophobia is found in one- and who's the unnatural one now?" Come on people, give your head a shake. First of all, define phobia. The dictionary definition is "a persistent, irrational fear of a specific object, activity, or situation that leads to a compelling desire to avoid it."

I'm sure they aren't talking about fear, unless it's their own fear. A dislike of the act of homosexual sex does not constitute a phobia. And if a person does have a phobia, why are they making it in to a crime?

The next point is that just because something occurs in nature, doesn't mean that it is acceptable in human society, unless you want to lower yourself to the level of animals. Murder and cannibalism occur in nature, and in a lot more that 450 species. By their reasoning, this means that it should be acceptable in human society, and that anyone who disagrees is guilty of the crime of "murderophobia" or "cannibalophobia". By this flawed reasoning, people are no better than animals, and any behavior that pertains to animals should be socially acceptable in humans. I can only see a downward spiral in the intelligence of humanity as I read Facebook. Now that is something to fear.

Friday, April 13, 2012

3 AM

Since early last fall, I've been awakening at 3 AM to pray the Divine Mercy chaplet for those in their death agony, and those who cross my mind at the time.I just found this interesting article on Spirit Daily, and am pleased to see that this is a common occurance. It's also the time of the best spiritual inspiration and self examination for me.
I hope you enjoy this article:

There is a neat little account in a neat little book. The account (one of many dealing with life, God, and miracles) is about the phenomenon of the three o'clock hour. We'll get to the booklet in a second.
What is it about three p.m. and a.m.?
We have hashed this over a number of times. It keeps coming up. We know about the afternoon: three p.m. is the hour designated as the end of the Crucifixion, the time of Our Lord's death -- the most momentous hour since Creation.
In the 1900s, Saint Faustina Kowalska of Poland received revelations from the Lord that accented this hour, including the potent Chaplet of Divine Mercy, which tradition says should be recited at three p.m. (and is celebrated in a special way this Divine Mercy Sunday).
("....When they say this Chaplet in the presence of the dying, I will stand between My Father and the dying not as the just judge but as the Merciful Savior," the Lord told Faustina in 1935).
But what about that almost bewitching, corresponding, and crosswise hour of three a.m.?
Here we get more mysterious.
For through the years -- as many of you know -- folks have told us they've had striking experiences indicating that this is a time when prayers are especially powerful, or when evil is particularly strong (and must be countered), or that the middle of the night is when the "veil" thins.
Perhaps it is simply the quiet of night?
Or is it a second time of the day for the Chaplet?
Is there some sort of confluence in the spiritual world?
Time after time, we'll read of a major event or death and in the article it will mention that it occurred at three a.m.
Fire. Murders. Holy deaths. There are even a movie, song, and magazine, all called 3 A.M.
Some say there are many deaths at this time because it is when the body is weakest.
One viewer wrote to us citing the fact that another major mystic (this one in Italy) had explained -- in her own revelations -- that night prayer, especially at 3 a.m., is "for adults to make amends for the sins of the night, to keep Satan away from weak people, and that culprits may ponder, repent, and make good resolutions which will become facts at sunrise."
In Miracles from God and Challenges of the World, Father Robert Gamel writes of a friend named Jimmy who had been in the seminary for a while, before leaving to start a family. (His entrance into the seminary was a story unto itself: he had asked for the Lord to send a full can of beer on the beach where he was sunbathing as a sign if he should seek a vocation and one had washed up!)
Unfortunately, when his children -- a boy and girl -- were young, Jimmy developed a cancerous tumor in his muscle tissue that eventually spread to his lungs.
As Father Gamel writes, "His wife could not handle the fact that he was dying and refused to take care of him. He offered his pain and suffering for his wife and kids. He spent the last weeks of his life with his parents separated from his wife and the kids he dearly loved.
"In this phase of Jimmy's life, he was truly experiencing the Crucifixion of Christ. Abandoned by his family, his parents watched him die.
"Then came the unexpected miracle from the Lord:
"He died at three a.m. as the clock outside his room struck the hour. This was the hour of Divine Mercy [in Father Gamel's interpretation of the morning hour]. This was also the first time that clock had run in two weeks!
"How incredible it had stopped right before the exact time of three. And even more incredible, it decided to run again at that moment. 
"But the miracle was not over; Jimmy had managed with his last breath to place his hand on his chest giving the peace sign to all who were there. That was how Jimmy always said goodbye to people. And now he was saying his last goodbye. His crucifixion ended. His sacrifice complete."
We hear similar affirmations.
"Thank you for making me feel that I am not the only one who is  experiencing the '3 am wake up,'" wrote Angela Biggs of Forth Worth, Texas. "I have been waking up at 3 a.m. for many years now. During the  eighties and nineties, it was most every night. Since then, I wake up at 3 am every night with few exceptions. Interestingly, the time  change does not seem to effect the '3-a.m. wake up.' During standard  time I wake up at three a.m. During daylight savings time I wake up at 3  a.m. When I am traveling, I wake up at 3 a.m. in the time zone where I  am. I have been complaining to husband, doctor and friends about this for years, because I felt it could be taking a toll on my health. A few years ago, a spiritual author and lecturer was on our local public broadcasting station asking the  same question, because he too is awakened every morning at 3 a.m. He said 3 a.m. is when he does his best writing and that we should keep a journal of whatever we are thinking or experiencing at that time. I have three dogs. They sleep on the floor at the foot of my  bed. They wake up at exactly 3 a.m. every morning, and if I am not awake yet, they begin to urgently scratch my bed until I am not just awake, but wide awake, so much so that I have to get out of bed to get them to stop! And if I go back to bed, it starts all over again."
Added Lisa K. Kloss of Eau Claire, Wisconsin:
"For many years have been having this happen.  Before the internet I thought it was just happening to me! After I read the diary of St. Faustina I understood better. Many times I have heard a male voice say my name which is what woke me up at that time. I became a Third Order Carmelite in 2001 and  when I got to know my guardian angel I realized it was his voice, and he also will wake me up anytime I ask him in the mornings, right down to the minute.  I have not had an alarm clock for over fifteen years and I have to get up a lot of times very early to travel to show my dogs. If I say, 'Angel, wake me up at exactly 4:37 a.m.,' I will hear my name, sometimes twice and louder the second time, and look at the clock….exactly 4:37!  One night a few years ago I woke (at 3 a.m.) to an evil shadow hovering above me within an inch."
However, she felt an angel came instantly to rid the darkness.
It is a time of spiritual warfare. It is a time for intercession. It is a time for meditation. It is a time, when we remember to pray, for grace.
Noted Janice Stravinskas of Saugus, Massachusetts: "I have been awakened suddenly at this hour, many times, with promptings to immediately begin praying the Divine Mercy Chaplet, to ask for mercy on the world.  I have read Sister Faustina's Diary, cover to cover, and after that began a serious devotion to the chaplet. Since then, I have had these experiences of being suddenly awakened, at this hour, mostly between 3:00 am and 3:30. After I pray, I return to a nice peaceful, restful sleep."
Some years ago, another wrote us to say, "Probably Christ 'rose from the dead' (after descending into Hell) on the third day (Easter Sunday) at 3 a.m. Three being a sacred number.  3 a.m. being shortly before dawn. I have also recently been waking up and praying the Divine Mercy chaplet during the 3 a.m. hour. I believe this is a forerunner to the return of Christ.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Peace of mind

As a follow up to my last post on my journey, I have found a resolution to my turmoil. It was a simple, heartfelt prayer, in front of the tabernacle in a silent, otherwise empty church, in which I asked my beloved Jesus to help me to overcome my issues. I pleaded for peace in my mind and soul.
We all know the Bible verse,
 Ask, and it shall be given you: seek, and you shall find: knock, and it shall be opened to you. [Matthew 7:7] 
 I know this, we all have been taught this, and it does happen. I think the Lord answers our prayers when they well up from the anguish in our souls, and not when we ask as a routine prayer. Before I even left the church that day, I could feel His peace like a gift to my soul. Since then, I have been able to manage my thoughts and keep peace in my heart in this matter. Much to the devil's disgust, I'm sure; he thought he had me.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Spiritual Dilemna

The reason I haven't been posting lately is because of my ongoing spiritual angst with the pastor of my church. As parish secretary here, I am privy to plenty of complaints and other insights that are privileged knowledge and not to be shared, and my position also prevents me from speaking out. I always encourage people to either talk to the priest, or to write a letter to the Bishop. They aren't inclined to do either, as it's much easier to do nothing; also there is a history in this parish of another priest, from the same country and of the same disposition as this one, who had this parish so riled up that they ousted him. So with this one, people are not standing up to him, and are , instead, staying away from church, and also withholding funds. Our attendance at Mass has dropped dramatically, and we aren't covering our monthly expenses. Something has to give. My dilemna is, do I write the Bishop? I can't talk to this priest. He doesn't listen to me, he brushes off every thing I say or suggest. I'm at the point where I am so upset that I don't go to weekday Masses any more, and barely make it through Sunday Mass. If my husband wasn't in the choir, I probably would go to another church, there is one a half hour away.
I have tried to see my way through this by prayer, and the help of the Communion of Saints. Talking to my husband the other day, he suggested that I call to mind well before Mass, all the good things about Mass, put my mind in a good place so that even physically I won't be tense and tied up in knots like I usually am. I have lost the sense of holiness and the Sacred at Mass, and it is a severe trial to me- I so long for the joy that I get at Mass when there is a holy priest who truly loves God and radiates that love during the Holy Sacrifice. I am sure this is a cross given to me for my salvation, but oh what a struggle it is when it is my nature to just bolt and run to another church!
Please, pray for me and our parish.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Thursday, February 16, 2012

My Journey Continued

I am nearing the end of book one of the City of God, (The Conception) and chapter 18 really spoke to me. I have been troubled by my reaction to a person I really don't like, that I am in frequent contact with, and reading this chapter has helped me to realize that these trials are from God, and necessary for the salvation of my soul. I knew that already, but Mary's words to Sister Mary of Jesus enlightened it for me. I am a simple person, and often need things to be spelled out for me before I grasp the concept.

" I wish thee, O soul, to understand that to suffer injuries with equanimity and to pardon them entirely for the Lord, will be more acceptable in His eyes, than if thou choose of thy own will to do the most severe penance and shed thy blood for Him. Humble thyself before those who persecute thee, love them and pray for them from thy true heart; thereby shalt thou turn toward thee in love the heart of thy God and rise to the perfection of holiness, and thou shalt overcome hell in all things. 
That great dragon, who persecutes all men, was confounded many times by my humility and meekness, and his fury could not tolerate the sight of these virtues. I gained great victories for my soul and won glorious triumphs for the exaltation of the Divinity. When any creature rose up against me, I conceived no anger toward it, for I knew in reality it was an instrument of the Most High, directed by His Providence for my special good.  This knowledge and the consideration, that it was a creature of my Lord, capable of grace, excited me to love it truly with a greater fervor, and I did not rest until I could reward this benefit of persecution by obtaining for it eternal life, as far as was possible.
Strive after therefore, and labor for the imitation of that; show thyself most meek, peaceful and agreeable toward those who trouble thee; esteem them truly in thy heart, and do not take vengeance of thy Lord by taking vengeance on His instruments, nor despise the inestimable jewel of injuries. As far as lies in thee, always give good for evil, benefits for injuries, love for hate, praise for blame, blessings for malediction. Then wilt thou be a perfect daughter of thy Father, the beloved spouse of thy Lord, my friend and my most cherished daughter.

This helps me to see in a new light the trials and tribulations in my life, and I hope it will help me to deal with the daily grievances I feel towards certain people. I see that my call to pray for souls must also include the souls of those who trouble me the most.

Monday, February 13, 2012


I found this over at Standing on my Head blog, and he said to share it if we like. This is such a powerful way to accept forgiveness and healing that I had to share.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Finding Forgiveness

This piece was first published over at Integrated Catholic Life. A reader has asked for it to be published here too. If you like it please share.

“I know I have been forgiven because I’ve been to confession, but I don’t feel forgiven!How can I find peace and know that I’m forgiven? ” 
This is one of the most frequent questions I get as a priest. A similar question comes up with the problem of forgiving others, “Father,” the person asks, “my business partner screwed me real bad. I’ve tried to forgive him, and I’ve given it all to God, but I still feel resentment and bitterness. I still want revenge. How can I find peace?”
Assuming that you have already taken the sin to God in the sacrament of reconciliation, the first step to finding the peace of forgiveness is to remember the fact of forgiveness. If you have confessed and received absolution you are forgiven. It’s a fact. The first step is to claim that fact. Make it an act of your will and intellect. You might even say out loud to yourself, “I am forgiven. It’s a fact.” Imagine that resentment, sin, guilt and anger being washed away by a tsunami of God’s mercy.
The next step in finding forgiveness is to take the guilt, the memory, the nagging resentment and bitterness with you to Mass and offer it up.There are various practical ways of doing this. 
First of all you need to ask yourself what Mass is actually for. What’s the purpose of Mass? Many Catholics have never asked that basic question, and if pressed they might say, “It is a chance to worship God together.” or “We come together to sing hymns, praise God and listen to his word and receive the Bread of Life.” or “Mass is the gathering place of the people of God around his Word and his table.”
What’s missing is the idea that Mass is a sacrifice. It is an offering. From the beginning of religious instinct in man the action of worship was the action of sacrifice. Humans offered to God the best gifts they had. However, in the Jewish religion this idea was expanded and the sacrifice also became a sin offering. The effect of sin was death, but the person’s sins were projected on to the animal which was sacrificed, and so the sins were forgiven. The price had been paid.
This primitive idea still lives within the idea of sacrifice of the Mass. The primary meaning of the Mass is that it is an offering of Christ’s once for all sacrifice, and that this offering applies the benefits of Christ’s sacrifice to our lives. Christ’s death was the payment for our sin. Once we see that the Mass is a sacrifice we can participate in the action of the Mass in a new and deeper way.
Therefore, when you come to Mass with a burden of guilt or a nagging desire for revenge or a sense of resentment and anger, you should bring that as part of your offering. See every part of the Mass as part of a greater offering to God.
When you say the confession at the beginning of Mass imagine those resentments, that guilt and that feeling of not being forgiven gathered up into the prayer. When the collection is taken, don’t just put money in the basket--imagine that you are putting your negative feelings in the basket too. When the offertory gifts are brought forward in procession imagine that the person you resent is being brought forward and offered to God. Place all your dark feelings into those gifts being brought forward. Give God your frustration and fear and worry and anxiety. As the priest lifts the bread and wine see him lifting all the unresolved negative emotions to God.
In the action of the Mass the bread is taken, blessed, broken and transformed. So it is with the negative feelings that you offer up. Through the priest God will take them, offer them to God, bless them, break them and then they will be transformed.
To get rid of those negative feelings of not being forgiven see that first of all the priest takes them as you offer them up. Standing in the place of Christ the priest symbolically takes your burdens. As he does, think of Christ Jesus himself saying, “Come to me all who labor and are heavily burdened and I will give you rest.” Through the action of the Mass Christ will take those burdens.
When I say Mass I make a conscious act of the will to bring to the altar all the sins I have heard in the confessional. Of course I don’t remember the individual sins. Instead, in a moment of silent prayer I ask that God will take them and forgive them and remember them no more, and that the penitent will be set free, forgiven and healed.
Then the priest blesses the bread. Imagine that he is blessing the burdens you have. “Bless the burdens?” Yes, the dark times of our life will become blessings as they are transformed by grace. But first, like the bread, they need to be broken. The dark feelings have you in bondage, and as the bread is broken see the bonds being broken. Then the transformation of the bondage into blessing will be completed.
Finally, as you receive the body of Christ imagine that you are receiving in the most powerful way the peace and strength and knowledge of forgiveness from Christ himself.
This “liturgy therapy” might take some time to sink in. If your mind has been circling around and around over particular grievances it is possible that you have got into a destructive mental pattern. This negative downward spiral can only be reversed and countered by repeated positive cycles of receiving God’s forgiveness week by week.
I am convinced that faith works. In other words, our Catholic faith really does bring us to an abundant life--a life that is transformed from the inside out by God’s grace.
Our part is to come to God with an open heart, an open mind and an active will so that as we co operate with his grace we will be transformed into his likeness.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

On the Pope and Kneeling

Here is an excerpt from Pope Benedict on the Theology of kneeling, with a link to the full article below.

The Christian Liturgy is a cosmic Liturgy precisely because it bends the knee before the crucified and exalted Lord. Here is the center of authentic culture - the culture of truth. The humble gesture by which we fall at the feet of the Lord inserts us into the true path of life of the cosmos.
There is much more that we might add. For example, there is the touching story told by Eusebius in his history of the Church as a tradition going back to Hegesippus in the second century. Apparently, Saint James, the "brother of the Lord", the first bishop of Jerusalem and "head" of the Jewish Christian Church, had a kind of callous on his knees, because he was always on his knees worshipping God and begging forgiveness for his people (2, 23, 6). Again, there is a story that comes from the sayings of the Desert Fathers, according to which the devil was compelled by God to show himself to a certain Abba Apollo. He looked black and ugly, with frighteningly thin limbs, but most strikingly, he had no knees. The inability to kneel is seen as the very essence of the diabolical.
But I do not want to go into more detail. I should like to make just one more remark. The expression used by Saint Luke to describe the kneeling of Christians (theis ta gonata) is unknown in classical Greek. We are dealing here with a specifically Christian word. With that remark, our reflections turn full circle to where they began. It may well be that kneeling is alien to modern culture -- insofar as it is a culture, for this culture has turned away from the faith and no longer knows the one before whom kneeling is the right, indeed the intrinsically necessary gesture. The man who learns to believe learns also to kneel, and a faith or a liturgy no longer familiar with kneeling would be sick at the core. Where it has been lost, kneeling must be rediscovered, so that, in our prayer, we remain in fellowship with the apostles and martyrs, in fellowship with the whole cosmos, indeed in union with Jesus Christ Himself.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Sweet Jesus

Here is a slightly different version of Pie Jesu, by  the Boys Air Choir.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

My Journey Continued- 2012

And so we are into another year. I wish all my readers a blessed year, and pray that we will all grow in grace and in the love and service of God, and that we will open our hearts to His call. As it says in The Imitation of Christ: Keep thy resolution firm and thy intention upright towards God.
I have been down with a cold since Christmas, and while it was fairly easy to post on my other blog, which doesn't require any deep thinking or soul searching, I couldn't get inspired to write on this one. However, the only way to overcome ennui is to apply oneself and just begin.
Some time ago, I asked God what he wanted of me, and the answer came swiftly and clearly: You are to pray for souls. In a way I am relieved the He is not asking me for great mortification and sacrifices- He knows how weak I am and has not given me more than I can bear. So I do my best to fulfill my vocation. Before, I used to concentrate on praying for the souls in Purgatory, and I have added praying for those who are in their death agony, and the souls of those who are to die this day, or this night. With the help of my guardian angel, I awake at 3 AM to pray the chaplet of Divine Mercy for the dying, as well as praying it at 3 PM for my own family members. I believe that grace builds in us in layers; that when we have reached one level and can do something well and persistently, then we are asked for more. God is the perfect taskmaster, He knows us better than we ourselves.
Another way that I have grown in the last year is in my devotion to Mary- another example of not being given a grace until we are able to handle it. A couple of years ago, I had asked to grow in devotion to Mary and Joseph; the devotion to Joseph came quickly and easily, but I really had to work at the devotion to Mary. I guess the devil knows his adversary and did all he could to hinder me! However, making the St. Louis de Montfort consecration last year gave me the tools I needed; also certain books really helped- someone left all 4 volumes of the City of God on the doorstep of our church, which I am reading, and nearly finished volume one. You see, God provides us with what we need as we need it according to His plan for us and not on our timetable.
That leads me to the next point: learning to trust in God. We say this all the time, but in our hearts what we really mean is that we hope that God will do for us what we want; to let go of our own desires and truly give ourselves over to God is not easily done. For me, it's a work in progress. When we pray "Thy will be done" in the Our Father, it rolls glibly off our tongue, and we don't often think of the ramifications of that little phrase.
It is the focus of my spiritual efforts this year. As usual, I gather inspiration from The Imitation of Christ: Book 3 Chapter 17:
O Lord, I shall suffer willingly for Your sake whatever You wish to send me. I am ready to accept from Your hand both good and evil alike, the sweet and the bitter together, sorrow with joy; and for all that happens to me I am grateful. Keep me from all sin and I will fear neither death nor hell. Do not cast me out forever nor blot me out of the Book of Life, and whatever tribulation befalls will not harm me.