I was watching television the other day and heard the most prolific message coming from it, a message that resonates profoundly and makes one to look inward to reflect on the real reason why God has placed them to be here on earth. The message:
Be who you were born to be and not what you have become
To be able to experience this phenomenon of being who you were born to be, Faith plays a crucial role in the ability to be able reach your true destiny. Remember scripture Jeremiah 1:5..
Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, And before you were born I consecrated you; I have appointed you a prophet to the nations
Faith is essential when facing any type of storm without it you are left naked to wander aimlessly through life. We all during life face one type of storm or another, that is life. As with Faith, one has to remember that, “Serenity is not freedom from the storm but peace amid the storm.” As referenced in the above scripture about being “prophets to the nations,” it is our duty as Christians to spread the word of God and to make his Word known. To accomplish this we too, should strive for being like the Saints, who selfishly loved God with every fiber of their being. As my good friend and fellow Catholic pointed out, “They became the people God created them to be.”
Are you ready to accept this challenge and be the person God intended?
Seek a personal relationship with Jesus and it is through His Love, Mercy and Grace that he will lift us all up to be all that we were meant to be… God Bless
I was delighted to have found out about a new audio Bible from a friend on twitter. This was the brainchild of Carl Amari and it’s his, “fervent prayer“….
As you listen to the life-giving Word of God, you will find peace for your soul, rest for your mind, joy for your heart, and a renewed and empowered faith in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
This audio set contains 22 hours on 18 CDs and features voices of internationally renowned actors with original music score and sound effects. Brian Cox is the voice of God, Neal McDonough as Jesus and Julia Ormond as Mary, Mother of God. The audio set comes with a foreword by Pope Benedict XVI [paraphrased]
We must always look for the Word within the words. Therefore, exegesis, the true reading of Holy Scripture, is not only a literary phenomenon, not only reading a text. It is a movement of my existence. Only by conforming ourselves to the Mystery of God, to the Lord who is the Word, can we enter within the Word, can we truly find the Word of God in human words. Let us pray to the Lord that he may help us search the word, not only with our intellect but also with our entire existence.
I strongly recommend you purchase a set for you or to give as a gift as there is no greater gift than the Word of God.
Memories, in my opinion is another example of God’s love for us. The photo above symbolizes such a memory. It is not the “jug” that is the memorable aspect but it’s content. As a child I couldn’t wait to go to my maternal grandparents farm, located in rural Kentucky to celebrate Christmas. There wasn’t the fancy decorated trees with all the trappings. My grandpa would scour the farm and find a pine tree suitable to bring home to decorate. The tree had garland and tinsel, ornaments adorned the branches. Underneath the tree we found boxes of assorted fruits, nuts and candies. Grandpa loved peppermint or candy canes and we were delighted when we were able to find him the humongous logs of peppermint for him to chisel and hearing his laughter as we clambered about with excitement of the coming day as family would gather to enjoy each other but also enjoy the many joys my dear Grandma would be conjuring up inside her “country kitchen.”
The “joy” I most looked forward too is pictured above; Grandma’s boiled custard, a recipe that has been handed down from one generation to another. In my child-like eyes of those days, there was nothing in comparison! She would gather eggs from her hen house and would spend hours standing at the stove stirring her custard with the love of only a Grandma could muster.
Those days are long gone as my Grandparents have been called home and the days of enjoying her boiled custard is but a memory embedded in the mind of that child that once was.
For years I have bought the store bought version of the boiled custard to relive that childhood memory that we so often resort to at times of great celebrations only to find it paled in comparison, quality and yes…taste!
This Christmas, however, God worked one of his many miracles in my life. Maybe he had seen the tears, felt the pain in my heart as I longed for those days of yesteryear.
In many ways God’s love has a trickle down effect. Meaning that it is His love for us, that he gave us each our own Mothers and Fathers to nurture us and see us through the many challenges we face a long our way in life. Like Mary as she guided her son Jesus through his early years, my Mom was very focused on our up bringing and she too felt many of the same joys and sorrows of Our Lady. Yet through all those times of joys and sorrow her love for me was affirmed in the most special of ways.
Knowing of my great love for not only my Grandparents and how I missed those Christmases of days gone by, she recreated my Grandma’s boiled custard and surprised me with this “jug” Christmas Eve. I can’t begin to describe the emotion that flooded me in that moment, the moment in which I laid eyes upon this jug filled with the memories of days gone by but of the love that was contained in this “jug.” Not only was I given the gift of affirmation of my own Mother’s love but for a brief moment, I felt the presence of my Grandma’s love, a love that I now know lives for an eternity……
Heavenly Father, help me to bring your love into my family. I don’t want to stand outside the flow of your grace!
They shall name him Emmanuel, which means “God is with us“
Christmas is a favorite time of year for me, not because of the gifts we open or the great food we enjoy with our families and friends. It is a favorite because I so loved as a child the moment my Mother would gather us all up on her bed and read to us from the Bible the “Christmas story” from Luke 2: 1-20. We were mesmerized by the story and was something to this day I cherish.
The story now has so much more meaning today as it did to that child so many years ago. No longer is it a tale of a woman who rode a donkey into Bethlehem or that a babe wrapped in swaddling clothes was laid to rest in a manger. Or is it about how the shepherds watching their flock had come to visit or how the three Wise Men had followed the Star of Bethlehem to the site of our Beloved Savior’s birth.
The story is about Faith and teaches us how to believe, to embolden us to follow her example and turn our hearts to God. This, to me, is the true meaning of this saga. Turning our hearts to God and succumbing to his will as Mary did when she offered herself freely believing that it was God’s will.
Taking to heart the meaning of Mathew 1:23 “God is with us” enables us to know that even at our darkest hour, He is with us, if you are happy, He rejoices in your joy and if you are stressed, He offers you peace. When you are hurting he reminds you that, “I am with you always.” This is our greatest gift that we received so long ago. It is my wish to remind you to cherish this gift and humbly pray
Jesus, I believe that you are ‘God with us.’ Help me to become more open to your presence and your will. I want to be with you always, just as you are with me.
Doubt is something that we’ve all experienced at one time or another. Could it be that it isn’t the doubt we are experiencing but that our Faith is wavering? This is possible, for often especially in the fast times we live today, it is an instant type of gratification that we have grown to expect. I know from my own personal experience that I have battled with doubts and my Faith. I, then turn to the Word Of God:
But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways
James 4: 7-10 says, “purify your hearts, you double-minded.” Faith is belief without doubt. We all have the gift of “free will” and are able to discern for ourselves if we choose to believe. Jesus said, “Do not be afraid; only believe ”
Whenever I have feelings of doubt overcoming me, I am called to re-read the prayer hanging on my bedroom wall. The Trust Him prayer, this gives me an inner peace and only serves to make me not only stronger as an individual but stronger in my Faith.
Trust Him when dark doubts assail thee, Trust Him when thy strength is small, Trust Him when to simply trust Him, seems the hardest thing of all. Trust Him, He is ever faithful, Trust Him, his dear will is best, Trust Him for the Heart of Jesus is thy surest place of rest. Trust Him,then, in storm and sunshine ALL thy cares upon Him cast, Till the term of life is over, And thy trusting days are past.
“Sacred Heart Of Jesus, In Thee I Place My Trust“
During Advent, a time of preparedness, we often get lost in the hustle and bustle of decorating our homes, scouring the malls and department stores to buy gifts to place under our decorated trees in our homes. Preparing festive foods to share with family and friends. Many have a feeling of being overwhelmed at times by all that we attempt to do to celebrate our most precious of gifts. What we are doing is loosing focus on the real reason for this time of year.
We should try to emulate Elijah and John the Baptist and do all that we can do to seek to do God’s will. Both were simple men, that loved God. They lived a life of repentance, often feeling alone, but knew in their hearts that they were preparing for someone greater to come.
While it is customary of the times we live to get lost somehow in the hustle and the bustle of the days leading up to the birth of our Savior, we should try to sit aside the many distractions we face and focus on the absolute truth as the very core of our Advent celebration. It really isn’t about all the gifts, the many decorations but what truly matters is that we seek to do God’s will.
Seeking to do God’s will is a calling in a sense. This calling was embraced by both Elijah and John the Baptist, it is often seen as something hard and something very simple. To paraphrase..”it’s simple because it isn’t a call to do a lot more, it is a call to do what we should do with a pure and humble heart. But this is why it is harder. Nothing is more demanding, in a sense, than making sure that our every thought and deed gives glory and honor to the Lord.”
So in the days that lie ahead as we await the coming our Our Lord, make it a point to find a quiet space where you can reflect and spend time with Jesus. Let everything in our midst that distracts us from the real reason for this season fall away and bask in his presence. Take the time to let him know that you are here and let the reality of his presence fill you. Let him know that you are here…….
“Jesus, I love you. Help me to tune out everything else and focus on your love and your presence.”
O Virgin Immaculate, Mother of God and my Mother, from thy sublime height turn upon thine eyes of pity. Filled with confidence in thy goodness and knowing full well thy power, I beseech Thee to extend to me thine assistance in the journey of life, which is so full of dangers for my soul. And in order that I may never be the slave of the devil through sin, but may ever live with my heart humble and pure, I entrust myself wholly to thee. I consecrate my heart to thee forever, my only desire being to love thy Divine Son, Jesus. Mary, none of thy devout servants has ever perished; may I too be saved. Amen.
Today we celebrate the feast day of the Immaculate Conception and the debut of this blog. How befitting to debut on a day that we honor her who gave us the greatest gift of all, our Savior, her son, Jesus.
I am not sure of the journey we will share on this blog, I am convinced that I am compelled to write about my faith and how it plays a crucial role in my life and I pray that I am guided by his mercy as I put forth the words needed to fill the pages to come.
My journey, like so many has been one of heartache and jubilation. It is my faith that has gotten me through even the most darkest of hours. For me, Mary, represents the ultimate Mother. One who has the ability to see past our faults and mishaps, one who is able to give us the kind of love so many of us seek, one that is unconditional.
I am in awe of the faith she displayed as she was called upon by the angel Gabriel, a messenger from God, that she was to bring forth his son and she did not waiver but graciously said yes to the word of God. Mary’s life was forever changed that day and she lived a life like most of us, one filled with joy and sorrow.
We are called to imitate her and to bring Jesus into the world; doing so we too shall suffer but it is our decision to either follow her example by living a life full of grace or succumbing to a life full of sin. I, pray to follow her lead and can only hope that I too, can continue to proclaim God’s greatness, knowing that he will be forever watchful if we keep our hearts open to his word. Luke 1:53 states:
The hungry he has filled with good things; the rich he has sent away empty.
I find comfort in the words of St. John Vianney as he states,”Mary’s heart is so loving towards us that the hearts of all other mothers taken together are but a piece of ice in comparison.”
“Lord, thank you for your Blessed Mother! May I imitate her virtues and call upon her to help me walk with you.”