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

Friday, December 4, 2015

My Journey, continued

Looking back....
As we grow older, we tend to look back on the days of our youth.
Some of us long for those days when we were young, strong and healthy to be returned to us.
Not me.
For the days of my youth were wasted, by attachment to sin. It seems to me that when I was a child, the days were mostly bright and full of promise. Then sin crept in, and even at a young age I was attracted to carnal pleasure, self indulgence, pride, .... it  took away the brightness and the light and brought in darkness.
As I age, my journey begins to look like climbing through a fog back towards the light.
I am given the grace of repentance and a firm purpose of amendment. That is what is bringing the light back into my life.
I often think of my guardian angel, and send him a prayer of thanks every day for bringing me back to God. I have a long way to go, and a short time to get there, as the song says. But I have a goal- heaven; and a plan- prayer, repentance, penance, submission to the will of God. One day, the light will be all that I see.
Here is a prayer from the Raccolta:
My Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, I humbly beseech The to scatter the darkness of my mind, and to give me lively faith, firm hope and burning love. Grant, O my God, that I may know Thee well and may do all things in Thy light and in conformity to Thy holy will. Amen.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Mend me Lord

O Lord, I kneel before you, broken and blackened by my sins.
O Lord, cleanse my soul, mend the broken pieces.
O Lord, may my soul be as you intended it to be;
 pure and whole so that it may be fit to be united with you for eternity.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

For the Souls

It is a humbling thing to know that in the grand scheme of things, my physical life doesn't matter much. It is even more humbling to understand that there will be an eternity for me. As we approach All Saints Day and All Souls Day, I contemplate my deceased family and friends, knowing that someday I will be among them. Who will pray for my soul? The current popular culture believes that if you loved someone in life and thought they were a good person, they must be in heaven. How many souls languish in Purgatory because their friends don't offer prayers, alms, penances for their souls? How many souls are there that I should be praying for? The souls in Purgatory cannot help themselves but we can and are in duty bound to pray for them. I think of the missed opportunities I have of offering even a simple prayer for them: "My Jesus, mercy on the Holy Souls!"
 Today, I ask for the grace of keeping the souls of my loved ones ever present so that I can offer all that I do for them. I pray: Eternal Father, I offer Thee all my actions today, united with the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, for the benefit of the suffering Souls in Purgatory, that they will more quickly be united with you in Heaven. Amen.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Pray for souls

Some time ago, I got the message that I was to pray for souls. Very simple, just "You are to pray for souls." Ever since, my devotion to praying for the souls in Purgatory has increased, and I pray for the souls of my family and friends as well as praying for persecuted Christians.
I have a wonderful book which I recommend, it is a collection of 365 daily reflections, written by Susan Tassone, entitled Day By Day for the Holy Souls in Purgatory.
I love the reflection for today, because it explains the simplicity of Purgatory so well:
The souls are in a fiery prison, and our good God, to open that prison, asks only a prayer from us. Can we refuse this prayer? (Blessed Mary of Providence). 
The prison of Purgatory is one of our own making. The fire is the longing to be in the presence of  the Lord. The key to release is prayer. Pray for those suffering souls whose own prayers can no longer help bring them to the Lord they so intensely love.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Help us, Lord

So much political turmoil right now, that it is hard to avoid getting embroiled in arguments.
Hard to keep my mouth shut, and just trust in God's plan for this world, when all I see is the triumph of evil.
So I will leave it to prayer, and follow the example of one of my sisters and withdraw from the near occasion of sin- social media. Because in the long run, those that matter to me will stay in touch, and as for the rest-  they have their own problems, and I don't need to be part of them.

Act of Reparation to the Sacred Heart of Jesus
Most sweet Jesus, You have bestowed on men the benefits of Your charity, but their ingratitude only responds with forgetfulness, negligence and spite. Thus here we prostrate ourselves before Your altar, inspired by the desire to make reparation through a special homage for their culpable indifference and the outrages which, in all ways, they oppress Your most loving Heart.
Nevertheless, we remember that we ourselves have been guilty of unworthy conduct in the past, and filled with profound sorrow, we implore Your mercy for us first of all. By voluntary expiation, we are ready to atone for the faults we have committed, ready also to expiate for those who, led astray from the way of salvation and remaining obstinate in their infidelity, refuse to follow You, their Shepherd and chief, thus throwing off the yoke of Your law and trampling the promises of their Baptism.
We would like to expiate for too many lamentable faults, making reparation for each of the following: our disorderly conduct, indecent fashions, scandalous corruption of innocent souls, profanation of Sundays and feasts, detestable blasphemies against You and against Your Saints, insults to your Vicar and to Your priests, reckless violations and odious sacrileges to the divine Sacrament of Your love, and finally the public sins of nations who revolt against the rights and authority of Your Church.
If only we could erase so many offenses with our own blood! At the least we wish to make reparation to Your outraged honor. We present to You even the satisfaction that You have offered to Your Father on the Cross, and the offering You have renewed each day on the altar. We present that sacrifice to You, accompanied with all the acts of atonement made by the Most Holy Virgin Your Mother, the Saints, and by faithful Christians. We promise You with all of our hearts, with the help of Your grace, to use all our means to do penance for our past faults and those of our neighbor. By the fervor of our faith, the purity of our life, and by perfect docility to the precepts of the Gospel, we desire to atone for the indifference toward such a great love, to which belongs all charity. We also promise You to make every effort to spare You new offenses and to lead the most souls possible to follow You.

Agreed, we offer You in this matter, O most good Jesus, by the intercession of the gracious Virgin Mary, Reparatrix, this spontaneous homage of expiation. Guard us until death, keeping us unshakably faithful to our duty and to Your service. Accord to us this precious gift of perseverance, which leads us finally to our native land where, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, You reign, God, forever and ever. Amen.


Monday, April 13, 2015

Roadblocks to the Soul

There is nothing worse than knowing that you are impeding your own salvation. When you deliberately commit a sin, knowing beforehand that you are going to do it, and making the excuse that it is an inconsequential matter and that in the grand scheme of things it doesn't matter if you do that action.
Wrong.
It matters to God.
Because I chose to do something I knew was wrong, and even though it wasn't an important matter- it involved convenience and simplifying things- it was still wrong.
These are the things that bring a stop sign to your road of progression for your soul.
Thank you Lord, for the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
Thank you for continuing to give us second chances.
Thank you for your Divine Mercy.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Lenten Reflections- The Stations of the Cross: The 14th Station

The Fourteenth Station
Jesus is laid in the tomb

Laid in the tomb, wrapped in the shroud, the last goodbyes said, the stone rolled in place. 
How cold and silent the tomb! How cold our hearts without the living God!
We know that the tomb, for Jesus, was only temporary, that it did not hold Him long. We know that death is part of the work of salvation God planned for Jesus, for our sake. We see that our Savior died, and we know that He rose again. This is our great hope, that the sadness and pain of death will not be the final step in our journey. Jesus showed us the Way. Yes, it is the Way of the Cross. And the reward is great, if we but follow.

Lenten Reflections- The Stations of the Cross: the 13th Station

The Thirteenth Station
Jesus is taken down from the cross

The disciples carefully lower the body of Christ from the Cross and place Him in the arms of His grieving Mother.
The sadness and grief must have been overwhelming for the disciples and apostles as well as Mary and all of His followers. We all know the empty feeling when someone we love has died, but how much more this must have been for those who knew that He was the Son of God. 
That emptiness must be in all those who do not have God in their lives, who deny Him, revile Him, and persecute His followers. That emptiness is in ourselves when we sin.
O Lord Jesus, as we consider Your lifeless body, brought down from the Cross, we know that it was only temporary, and that You rose to new Life, glorified. So let us hope, for ourselves and for others, that we may never die to You again, but always feel Your Presence and the hope You bring us, even in our darkest hour.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Lenten Reflections - The Stations of the Cross: The 12 Station

The Twelfth Station
Jesus is crucified and dies on the Cross

                                                                                  Imagine the agony of Jesus as the Cross is raised and roughly placed in the hole dug for it. How the nails must have torn the flesh in his hands! The three hours must have been almost unendurable and yet from the Cross, the words He spoke,  so full of compassion, give us hope. 
As we approach the end of our lives, let us remember always that our souls belong to God, and He wants us to return to Him. Through the suffering and death of Jesus, we have been given the tools we need for our salvation- no, it is not a guarantee that we will make it to heaven the day we die, as Jesus promised the thief, just as a hammer cannot build a house by itself, so we need to take up the tools of repentance, faith, hope, charity, humility and all the gifts of the Holy Spirit and apply them to our lives, so that this cruel death will not have been in vain for our particular soul. He pleaded to the Father for forgiveness for us, let us plead also in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. He gave us His Mother to help us, let us turn to her for help and comfort. He thirsted for souls- let us thirst for our own soul to be reunited with its Creator in heaven. When we are feeling forsaken and abandoned by God, let us remember that Jesus also felt that, but in the end, He placed Himself in God's hands and surrendered to God's plan of salvation. Jesus was fortified by His Divine nature- we have only the promise of eternal salvation in Heaven to strengthen us; the promise which sustains us in all our trials and grief, and also in all the good times of our lives. 
O God, I plead for the grace of final perseverance, for myself and all my loved ones, and yes, even for my enemies. I wish that every soul would turn to You. 

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Lenten Reflections- The Stations of the Cross: The 11th Station

The Eleventh Station
Jesus is nailed to the Cross

The Cross is prepared. Jesus is cast down upon it, and the soldiers proceed to hold Him down and brutally pound nails through His sacred hands and feet.
He spreads His arms out, this last act encompasses His love for us- a love so strong that He endured this torture for us. For you. For me. We often think of this station as the most gruesome and horrible, but it is also the most beautiful, for Jesus willingly did this. His arms were outstretched in love, His will perfectly in unison with God the Father in the plan for our salvation. We, weak and sinful humans, so loved by God. Look into those eyes, and know that you are loved. Look into your soul, and take all your sins, and nail them to the Cross of your salvation. Give them to Him who died to free us. 
O Jesus, I lay my burdens at the foot of the Cross and beg You to forgive me for the pain I have caused You. Every one of my sins is a blow from the hammer and nail. Help me. O Lord, to avoid sin at all cost, and to conform myself to the will of God, even as You did.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Lenten Reflections- The Stations of the Cross: The 10th Station

The Tenth Station
 Jesus is stripped of His garments


As a final indignity before He is nailed to the Cross, Jesus is stripped of His clothing; naked just as He came into this world clothed only in our weak flesh, so it was how He left it. 
All the things we acquire throughout life are meaningless at the point of death. We are stripped of our vitality, often our pride, our health, sometimes of our senses. Worldly goods and social standing avail us not as we face the entrance to eternity. The only things that matter are the things unseen: our actions, prayers, conformity of our will to God's will. These are our measure, not how much we are esteemed in the eyes of man, but how God sees us. No matter what we are stripped of at the end of our life, we are all naked in God's eyes, for He looks into our souls. 
O Lord, help me to release my attachment to things of this world, and strive to live my life remembering always that what is in my heart matters most. Help me to purify my thoughts and actions according to Your will and not mine. Help me to increase in love of You and decrease in love of self and the world. 

Friday, March 27, 2015

Lenten Reflections- The Stations of the Cross: The 9th Station

The Ninth Station
Jesus falls the third time

Weary unto death..... at this last fall, Jesus barely has the strength to get up and continue the journey..... 
As we approach the end of our life's journey, we are often weakened by illness, sadness, suffering both mental and physical.  We cannot give up for not only is the end in sight, but the reward that Jesus gave us in His Resurrection is also close. We must accept our struggle at the end of our life, for as Jesus shows us in this last fall, He has set the example for us. Struggle, and persevere no matter what is in God's design for us. We may be weak and heavily burdened- but we cannot give up hope that our reward will be in heaven. 
O Jesus, grant that I may never lose hope, or lose my trust in You. Give me courage when I need it most, and grant me the grace of final perseverance. 

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Lenten Reflections- The Stations of the Cross: The 8th Station

The Eighth Station
Jesus speaks to the Women of Jerusalem

This is one passage in the story of the Passion that is very intriguing- the women are weeping at the plight of one they knew as prophet and miracle worker, most likely without understanding who He truly was, and He took the moment, recorded for all time, to not just console them but to give warning of dire times to come. 
But Jesus turning to them, said: Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not over me; but weep for yourselves, and for your children. [29]For behold, the days shall come, wherein they will say: Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that have not borne, and the paps that have not given suck. [30] Then shall they begin to say to the mountains: Fall upon us; and to the hills: Cover us.
Luke 23: 28-30

O Lord, if we are indeed in the times You spoke of please give us the strength we need. Help us to be humble each day so that we can hear You: You speak like no one else.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Lenten Reflections- The Stations of the Cross: the 7th Station

The Seventh Station
Jesus falls the second time

The physical punishment Jesus has taken has weakened Him to the point that His body gives out on Him again, and he falls to the ground. He is forced to get up and continue His journey. We too fall, time and again- we repeat mistakes, destructive patterns of behaviour, addictions, and sins. By grace, we rise again, and if we think of Jesus, struggling to His feet to continue on, we can find the courage to break free of all that drags us down. Yes, we may fall again, but it isn't the end of the road- we have to struggle to rise up and carry on- through anguish, grief, pain, or just plain self indulgence. We will still have our burdens to carry, and sometimes they will seem too heavy to bear.
Jesus, You show us in this seventh station that even though we fall repeatedly, we still have to struggle on. You have given hope that we can still get up and go on. Jesus, give us the strength we need to overcome our sins, and to carry with dignity the Cross You have given us, even if we feel that we are not strong enough to bear it.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Lenten Reflections- The Stations of the Cross: the 6th Station

The Sixth Station
Veronica wipes the Face of Jesus

Imagine that you are Veronica, seeing Jesus stumbling along the Via Dolorosa, face bloodied and bruised, and moved to the depths of your soul with sadness at His condition you take your veil and tenderly wipe His Holy Face. This act of compassion leaves an indelible print of His Face upon the cloth.
Now consider the poor and downtrodden, the people who are scorned by the affluent; the dregs of society. Are you moved to compassion for them? Or just stand back and spectate their journey through life? Jesus was condemned by the society of His day, scorned, flogged, brutalized and sentenced to death. Can we see Jesus in the face of others? It's hard, isn't it? But every time we lend a helping hand to them, or do an act of compassion or mercy to them, Jesus leaves His imprint upon our soul, the fabric of our being. And the more compassionate we are, the more we are filled with His Holy Presence. It becomes easier to be kind when you practice kindness; every act of mercy leads to another, and another. One other point- it's hands on. Not just hollow words of intention, but acts.
Let us pray that we will be able to see the Holy Face in even the poorest of people, and treat them with the compassion of St. Veronica.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Lenten Reflections- The Stations of the Cross: the 5th Station

The Fifth Station
Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus carry the Cross

Afraid that Jesus would die before the planned Crucifixion, the Roman soldiers forced Simon of Cyrene to carry the Cross. 
Sometimes, the help we give is unwilling, we grumble about having to perform an act of charity, especially for family members or for someone whose lifestyle is so different from ours. And yet, when our burdens seem too heavy to bear, we don't hesitate to plead with God to lighten our load! 
O God, give me the grace to be charitable to others, even when I don't want to be. Help me to remember Simon, who carried your heavy burden, right to the place of your death. 

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Lenten Reflections- The Stations of the Cross: the 4th Station

The Fourth Station 
Jesus meets His afflicted mother

      Imagine the pain and sorrow Mary felt as she watched the Passion of her Son unfold. Now consider why this is one of the stations of the Cross. Jesus stopping in his journey to spend a moment with His mother tells us that Jesus wants us to remember His mother in our times of trial, sorrow and conflict. Mary has many titles, among them Comforter of the Afflicted , Health of the Sick, Refuge of Sinners, Mother most Merciful. No matter how great our trials, we can give them to Her who suffered the greatest trial imaginable as she saw her Son condemned and Crucified for us. Mary did not plead with God to take away the burden Jesus underwent, but she shared in His Passion and His sorrow and pain. Mary, please help me to understand and bear the Cross that is mine to carry, whatever it may be. Help me to bear it with dignity, even to the end of my life. Then, O Merciful Mother, lead me to your Son, that I may thank Him for the great sacrifice He made for me and for all humanity.


Friday, February 27, 2015

Lenten Reflections- The Stations of the Cross- the 3rd Station

The Third Station
Jesus falls the first time

After the brutal treatment of scourging and the other blows He received from the time of His capture to receiving the burden of the Cross, Jesus' body was weakened. His Divine nature never faltered, but His human nature succumbed to natural law: and He fell. It is our human nature which causes us to fall.  It is by grace that we rise again, as Jesus did after this first fall: God is merciful and always willing to give us another chance. It is up to us to choose to walk in God's ways and do our best not to fall into sin. The weight we have to bear is the weight of our own sin- Jesus bore the weight of the sins of all people. 
Let us pray for the grace to always seek to do God's will, so that we never fall into mortal sin and that we will have the strength we need to overcome the impulses of our human nature.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Lenten Reflections- The Stations of the Cross: the 2nd Station

The Second Station
Jesus carries His Cross

Jesus willingly accepted the Cross of our redemption.
When we are given the cross in life, do we accept it willingly? Do we consider that it is part of our redemption? Many people believe that since Jesus suffered and died for us, that we should not have to suffer, and that God, being a merciful God should not allow suffering. Are we then, to be placed above Jesus? Are we so perfect that we should not have to suffer? Of course not. What is important is how we accept the burdens God places on us. Without cursing God for our pain and sorrow. Knowing that this burden is ours and that if we ask, God will give us the strength and courage to bear it. Jesus set the example for us- consider Him, already beaten, scourged and humiliated, having to take up the Cross while weakened with pain. Let us follow His example, and remember the words of Fr. Corapi- no Cross, no crown.
Lord, grant me the grace to accept whatever You will send me in life as Your will, and always to remember the words of Jesus in the garden: Not my will, but Thine be done.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Lenten Reflections- The Stations of the Cross: the 1st Station

The First Station
Jesus is Condemned to Death

Pilate washed his hands as a signal that Jesus was to be put to death. How many times have we washed our hands of our Saviour, shutting Him out of our lives!
 If we could stand in His presence, how would He judge us?
 Could you bear to look at His Holy Face and say, Jesus, I don't want You to live in my heart, in my life- I want to cling to my sinful ways because it gives me pleasure, and to live a holy life is too hard!
Or would you fall on your knees and ask forgiveness and mercy, from Him who received no mercy at the hands of His tormentors?

Jesus, let me never condemn You and shut You out of my life! Grant me the grace to change my sinful ways! Let me never reject You again.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Love's turn

A while ago I did a post on evil, and this one is about love.
When we are little children, love is easy- it is what ever makes you feel good; a meal, a cuddle, a new toy, a parent's encouragement and approval.
As we grow to the teenage years, we think of love as whatever makes us feel special, and set apart from others as we search for our place in life, our identity. And of course, this can often lead us astray.
As young adults love is usually centred around our relationship with another person, and hopefully leads to marriage and families.
And as we grow old, and find that love is no longer about passion, and self, that's when we turn to the love that endures time: the love of God.
People often wonder what old people have left to live for, when all their friends and family have drifted away, when they are no longer useful in society or are infirm and need help to live.
For me, as I age, I know that what I have to live for is to seek true love, to feel God's love for me and in turn pass that love on to others. Love is eternal in that God is love, and to enter in to that love should be our goal; to spend eternity surrounded by pure love.
How do we get there?
How do we shed the shackles that keep us bound to all that keeps us from God? Our daily lives, filled with trials and tribulations, with concerns and issues; how can we use that to increase in love?
By making each thing we say, do think and feel an offering to Him in reparation and repentance for everything we have done that drew us away from God. By trying to remember the Holy Presence of God all day and night, for to think of Him is to love Him and He returns our love a hundredfold.
Do all for the love of God, especially the things that are the hardest to do. Converse with Him, in both vocal and silent prayer. Jesus, I trust in You! Jesus, I love You! Increase Your love in me O Lord, that I may love You as much as I am able, and then do with me what Thou will.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

What will the new year bring?

At the start of every year, we tend to take stock of our hopes and dreams, our progress or lack of it, think of the things we want to change or goals we want to achieve.
I am fortunate to have the chance to cross something off my "bucket list" this year, but it is nothing compared to what I want to achieve on a spiritual level.
This is what I want to do this year: to never forget the Holy Presence of God. To remember Him, and His love for us, especially in those moments when I am most perplexed or upset, not just in the moments when I am thinking that all is well in my world.
In remembering His Holy Presence,  I want to do what is pleasing to God, even in the little things. My thoughts, actions and words should reflect my acknowledgement of His Presence.
My decisions even in mundane matters should be made with His approval in mind.
I know that I am weak, and easily distracted.
And so I pray, that the Blessed Virgin will assist me because she was infused with a closeness to God unknown to any other human being. O Mary, help me to remember the Holy Presence of God always, and to keep in mind His love for us, and the sacrifice your Son made for us. Strengthen me O Blessed Mother and shelter me from my own attachment to sin. Help me O Mother of Perpetual Help! Help me to persevere in prayer, and not grow lax and lazy. Help me to love Jesus as much as you did, and to seek Him always.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Stand strong

Well...... I wasn't going to get political on this blog, but with everything that is going on, and given the long history of persecution Christians have endured, I have to take a stand.
We are under attack, there is no doubt about it. The force of evil in the form of radical extremists is taking its toll on Christ's followers whether they are Catholic or Protestant, anyone who believes in Christ is fair game.
There is no doubt in my mind that there are many martyrs filling up heaven these days.
  I refer you to John 2:9- 11:
He that says he is in the light and hates his brother, is in darkness even until now.
He that loves his brother, abides in the light, and there is no scandal in him.
But he that hates his brother, is in darkness, and knows not whither he goes; because the darkness has blinded his eyes.
The followers of radical Islam are blinded by the darkness, and there is no light in them.
I am reminded of the Biblical story in Machabees 2:7 of the martyrdom of a  woman and her seven sons, who were horribly put to death for not renouncing their faith.

How long, O Lord, will You let your children suffer for your name's sake?
Will You not put an end to the darkness?
If it is not yet time, then I pray for us, who love You, to receive the grace of strength to stand strong in the face of evil, to believe as strongly as those seven sons and their mother that any cruelty we have to face in this world is nothing compared to our reward in heaven.
Let us not weaken.