The Whole World Awaits Mary’s Reply

Rejoice! Rejoice! My heart rejoices at Mary’s “YES”!

Mary’s “YES” Luke 1:26-38

As I reflect on my little “yes” to God, there is a wonderful homily written by Saint Bernard of Clairvaux hundred’s of year ago that reflected on the importance of Mary’s “YES”, and it has such insight, I share it below:

The Whole World Awaits Mary’s Reply On the Annunciation and Mary’s “fiat”
Saint Bernard of Clairvaux

This homily excerpt of St. Bernard is in the Office of Readings for
December 20, the fourth week of Advent.

 

You have heard, O Virgin, that you will conceive and bear a son; you have heard that it will not be by man but by the Holy Spirit. The angel awaits an answer; it is time for him to return to God who sent him. We too are waiting, O Lady, for your word of compassion; the sentence of condemnation weighs heavily upon us.

The price of our salvation is offered to you. We shall be set free at once if you consent. In the eternal Word of God we all came to be, and behold, we die. In your brief response we are to be remade in order to be recalled to life.

Tearful Adam with his sorrowing family begs this of you, O loving Virgin, in their exile from Paradise. Abraham begs it, David begs it. All the other holy patriarchs, your ancestors, ask it of you, as they dwell in the country of the shadow of death. This is what the whole earth waits for, prostrate at your feet. It is right in doing so, for on your word depends comfort for the wretched, ransom for the captive, freedom for the condemned, indeed, salvation for all the sons of Adam, the whole of your race.

Answer quickly, O Virgin. Reply in haste to the angel, or rather through the angel to the Lord. Answer with a word, receive the Word of God. Speak your own word, conceive the divine Word. Breathe a passing word, embrace the eternal Word.

Why do you delay, why are you afraid? Believe, give praise, and receive. Let humility be bold, let modesty be confident. This is no time for virginal simplicity to forget prudence. In this matter alone, O prudent Virgin, do not fear to be presumptuous. Though modest silence is pleasing, dutiful speech is now more necessary. Open your heart to faith, O blessed Virgin, your lips to praise, your womb to the Creator. See, the desired of all nations is at your door, knocking to enter. If he should pass by because of your delay, in sorrow you would begin to seek him afresh, the One whom your soul loves. Arise, hasten, open. Arise in faith, hasten in devotion, open in praise and thanksgiving. Behold the handmaid of the Lord, she says, be it done to me according to your word.
 

Hom. 4, 8-9: Opera omnia, Edit. Cisterc. 4 [1966], 53-54

My Little “yes”!

I ask myself, have I said “yes” to God? “Can I really do that? Often doubt and fear clouds my judgement, and that’s when I need God to help me over come my insecurities. Last week, I almost said no to helping drive food baskets to the needy in my parish, but at the last minute, I said, “Yes!”. My hesitancy was fear – of meeting people I didn’t know. God gave me a chance to say, “yes”, and it was one of the most humbling and happy thing I could have done. There was a joy in sharing with those in need the love of Jesus, and giving a helping hand. As I knocked on doors, God opened my heart to see His people, and to give them much needed food so that they may have a Merry Christmas.

Let each of us reflect on our “YES” to our Almighty God.

God Bless 💖

Make Haste

As part of my St. Ignatius Spiritual Exercises (The Ignatian Adventure, Experiencing the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius in Daily Life, by Kevin O’Brien, SJ.), I have been praying and mediating on a “grateful awareness of the many ways in which God calls me”, and the past week, I have been reading, rereading, reflecting, and praying on Luke 5:1-11. The depth of it’s meaning came to light a few days ago – “God, how can I be a fisher of men? Moreover, I ask myself how can I serve You in our world today? Next week begins a new challenge – I won’t be able to attend Mass and the Holy Eucharist due to new government restrictions. I was feeling so down about it. How do I live in the new normal – a world of Covid-19 fears and now Omicron restrictions? How can I continue to be a disciple of Jesus?

Luke 5:10 reminds us:

Jesus always said to us, “And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; henceforth you will be catching men.”

I was greatly comforted by Luke’s reminder.

I have low immune system, and I am very careful, especially mindful of those around me, and isolate myself at the first signs of illness. Today, was one of those days, when I felt a migraine and under the weather. Being the last day I could attend Mass before new restrictions set in, I felt guilty and terrible that I did not go.

In the face of challenges, it is a miracle the way God’s hand is constant in my life. Not only did I feel uplifted and full of joy watching online mass this morning, but I felt renewed. Today’s lectionary reading Luke 1:39-45 touched me, and I was reflecting upon it since last night when I flipped open my Bible and read it while procrastinating rereading Luke 5: 1-11. God is ahead of me! God knows my worries.

See the source image
Carl Heinrich Bloch’s painting – The Meeting of Mary and Elizabeth

Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth.

When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me? For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.”

Three key words come to mind – “Mary set out and went with haste…”, the second is the power of the Holy Spirit in the bonding these two woman with inner and outer joy – “For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leaped for joy...”

I am reminded that in Jesus, there is joy. His birth into this world and walking among us is a testament of God’s eternal love and plan for us. Hence, no matter how many obstacles the world may throw my way that prevents me from going to Mass to worship, I can still praise and sing glory to my God, because I take the time today to keep the Sabbath Holy in my home – my place of refuge.

How to keep the sabbath holy

Making my home a sancturay for God

Making my home a refuge, and adorning it with objects that reminds me of the Blessed Family, God, Jesus, our Blessed Mother, and Father Joseph. Sanctified with Holy Water is also a good idea.

The point here is having a quiet place to spend time with God.

Spend time in prayer and read the day’s Mass reading

Daily reading from the Catholic Calendar is a special contemplation I do on top of my own personal Bible journey. Daily readings are centered around liturgical themes, and they help guide the believer into a better understanding of the Old and New Testament, as well as insights from all Saints, religious, and all who have gone before us. The following two sites are a great resource for daily Catholic readings:

The Morning Offering

Weekday Lectionary
Make a Spiritual Communion and Thanksgiving

I can’t make it to Mass for the Eucharist, and instead of getting stressed out about it, I watch the Mass online and make an act of spiritual communion and thanksgiving. God doesn’t want us ridden with anxiety and stressed out. Jesus loves us, and wants us to be near to Him and filled with inner joy.

watch the mass online or on tv

Here is a list of some of my favorite Catholic organizations:

EWTN

https://www.ewtn.com/

The Divine Mercy

https://www.thedivinemercy.org/

Bishop Barron (Word on Fire)

https://www.youtube.com/user/wordonfirevideo

Father Mike Schmitz and Ascension Presents

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCVdGX3N-WIJ5nUvklBTNhAw

rest and reflection

Remember God rested on the 7th day. Enjoy a day of stillness, rest and reflection on God’s day.

In all things, remember to give thanks

Make the day beautiful, peaceful, and joyful. I like to spend part of God’s day smiling and thinking of how wonderful my God is, and am thankful for His hands in my life and the lives of those around me. I love to listen to music of praise and worship on God’s day of rest. Just as I am sitting here sharing with each one of you my love for our Immortal God. Jesus, I trust in you❤️

I love to listen to the Virgil Project:

May the hand of God hold each of you in His warm and protective embrace, and know that as long as we focus our attention on Him, we do not need to feel fear! God is faithful, and knows our hearts more than we do. Let each of us take the time to pray on a greater awareness of the many ways in which God calls each and every one of us.

God Bless 💖

A Light In My Path

“Come to this light, the light of Christ…”

My soul rejoices and I am overwhelmed with a sense of inner peace reading todays Lectionary. The readings flow and enlightens my mind and soul. Especially beautiful today is the proclamation in the Old Testament of the the arrival of our blessed light coming into the world, and in the New Testament, it tells us of Joseph’s thoughts as well as how his trust in God, lead to his hand in helping usher the light into our broken world.

Jesus’ birth is the light entering a dark and tumultuous world under Roman oppression. Today, Jesus lights our path in an era of cancel culture, government restrictions, and medical tyranny. Christmas has been cancelled by political correctness, and replaced with commercialism and secularism – “Happy Holidays”.

Old Testament Jeremiah 23:5-8  

    Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD,
        when I will raise up a righteous shoot to David;
    As king he shall reign and govern wisely,
        he shall do what is just and right in the land.
    In his days Judah shall be saved,
        Israel shall dwell in security.
    This is the name they give him:
        “The LORD our justice.”

Therefore, the days will come, says the LORD,
when they shall no longer say, “As the LORD lives,
who brought the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt”;

but rather, “As the LORD lives,
who brought the descendants of the house of Israel
up from the land of the north”– 

and from all the lands to which I banished them;
they shall again live on their own land.

Gospel matthew 1:18-25 

This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about. 
When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph,
but before they lived together,

she was found with child through the Holy Spirit. 
Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man,
yet unwilling to expose her to shame,

decided to divorce her quietly. 
Such was his intention when, behold,
the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, 
“Joseph, son of David,

do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. 
For it is through the Holy Spirit
that this child has been conceived in her. 
She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus,
because he will save his people from their sins.” 
All this took place to fulfill

what the Lord had said through the prophet:

    Behold, the virgin shall be with child and bear a son,
        and they shall name him Emmanuel,

which means “God is with us.” 
When Joseph awoke,

he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him
and took his wife into his home. 
He had no relations with her until she bore a son,
and he named him Jesus.

There is hope! No matter how dark it feel, the light of baby Jesus repairs our brokenness. It reunites us with God. Today’s reading touches a core within me especially as the Year of St. Joseph comes to an end. It gives me the hope that God has everything under control. Just as God used St. Joseph to protect Mary and baby Jesus, I know God is with us.

St. Joseph makes me think of God’s steadfast hand in our lives, and His loyalty knows no end. To those of us who put Him above all things, God is ever present. So regardless of the circumstances my family and I may face during this crazy time in our lives, God is with us.

Jesus is the light of my world. If I let it, it will shine in me and through me.

Let the light of Jesus shine in YOU! Let all OUR light, light a path in our darken world.

God Bless 💖

Preparing A Place Of Refuge

As the year devoted to St. Joseph comes to an end, and as we prepare our hearts in preparedness for the birth of Jesus, many obstacles has popped up creating turmoil in my world, and in different parts of our globe. In my part of the world, my province has mandated many restrictions that will take place this coming Monday. One of which is our place of worship. Last year, all churches were shut down. Now, 10 days before Christmas, there will not only be a reduction of 50% of attendees, but those present must show their vaccine passport. All I can say is that as we head towards more restrictions in every aspect of our lives, I cannot express enough the importance of creating a place of refuge. What do I mean? I mean ensuring that we are prepared spiritually – in Jesus. To trust in Jesus, and know that we were meant to live in this time as His disciples. To continue to love as Christ did. To know that our faith in Jesus is our foundation. Fear not! The hand of God will provide for us. Creating a sacred place of refuge is a start. This can be our own home.

For me this means creating a space in my home for my family as a refuge from the sinful and crazy world outside – a home within which all four walls are filled with prayer (by keeping prayer alive daily and unceasingly). I have the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Crucifix hanging on my walls as a reminder of His sacrifice for our sins. It also means having objects or pictures of faith around that each member of the family can look upon and meditate on the Holy Family and God. It means creating a blessed space. Isn’t this extreme? Well the ever changing protocols, restrictions, and lost of freedom upon all of us demands deep faith in God to overcome the fears that Satan rains upon us.

As we head into difficult times in our changing world, I want to share with you the following prayer: The Rosary of Provision. “Anyone who prays this Rosary with faith and devotion will not lack the bread of every day. It is the promise of Jesus of Mercy.”

The rosary of provision (for times of scarcity and famine)

“O infinite Mercy of God, which you provide to men of good will, to those in need, to widows and orphans, covering their material and spiritual needs; Open the pantries of heaven and in the Name of the Father, (blessing) in the Name of the Son, (blessing) and in the name of the Holy Spirit, (blessing) send me the provision I need to accomplish my needs of this day (make request).
Creed and Our Father.”

5 Decades:

In the big beads say: I can have grace and mercy even in times of need. (Hebrews 4, 16)

In the small beads say: In the name of God One and Triune, Divine Mercy, provide for me. 10 times

(depending on your rosary beads) At the end of each dozen, pray:  1 Our Father and you start as in the beginning.

I can have grace and mercy…  and so on until the end of the five dozen.

At the end of the rosary, pray the Psalm 136

Psalm 136

God’s Work in Creation and in History

O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,
    for his steadfast love endures forever.
O give thanks to the God of gods,
    for his steadfast love endures forever.
O give thanks to the Lord of lords,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;

who alone does great wonders,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
who by understanding made the heavens,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
who spread out the earth on the waters,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
who made the great lights,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
the sun to rule over the day,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
the moon and stars to rule over the night,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;

10 who struck Egypt through their firstborn,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
11 and brought Israel out from among them,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
12 with a strong hand and an outstretched arm,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
13 who divided the Red Sea[a] in two,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
14 and made Israel pass through the midst of it,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
15 but overthrew Pharaoh and his army in the Red Sea,[b]
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
16 who led his people through the wilderness,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
17 who struck down great kings,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
18 and killed famous kings,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
19 Sihon, king of the Amorites,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
20 and Og, king of Bashan,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
21 and gave their land as a heritage,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
22 a heritage to his servant Israel,
    for his steadfast love endures forever.

23 It is he who remembered us in our low estate,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
24 and rescued us from our foes,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
25 who gives food to all flesh,
    for his steadfast love endures forever.

26 O give thanks to the God of heaven,
    for his steadfast love endures forever.

🙏

Matthew 11:28  “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.

God Bless 💖

Happy Anniversary!

Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Gospel Luke 1:26-38

The angel Gabriel was sent from God
to a town of Galilee called Nazareth,
to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph,
of the house of David,
and the virgin’s name was Mary.
And coming to her, he said,
“Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you.”
But she was greatly troubled at what was said
and pondered what sort of greeting this might be.
Then the angel said to her,
“Do not be afraid, Mary,
for you have found favor with God.
Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son,
and you shall name him Jesus.
He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High,
and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father,
and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever,
and of his Kingdom there will be no end.”
But Mary said to the angel,
“How can this be,
since I have no relations with a man?”
And the angel said to her in reply,
“The Holy Spirit will come upon you,
and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.
Therefore the child to be born
will be called holy, the Son of God.
And behold, Elizabeth, your relative,
has also conceived a son in her old age,
and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren;
for nothing will be impossible for God.”
Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.
May it be done to me according to your word.”
Then the angel departed from her.

Mary’s “yes” always moves me and leads me to ponder over my “yes” to God. I always ask myself what “yes” have I said to God. I recall a time when I would ignore Gods call. I also recall a time when I told Him I was not ready. Throughout my “no” and “not yet”, God was always patient and faithful. When I finally said “yes”, the power of the Holy Spirit filled me with inner joy, peace and love – so that no matter what life challenges I face, Jesus gives me the strength to endure all.

Let us ponder on the “yes” we say to God. Let us rejoice on how our “yes” has lead to transformations within our own lives.

God Bless 🌹

It’s All About Love

John 3:16

To believe in God is to know love.

If we believe and know God, then we are privileged to the simple truth that, God loved us so much that he gave us His beloved son – Jesus – to die on the cross for us. With faith, we know that through His sacrifice we are redeemed from the sins inflicted upon humanity by our first parents (Adam and Eve). Through faith and hope, we can look forward to a new life and eternal life with God.

To believe is to know our journey has just began.

God’s love changes everything for us. It changes our inside, and in turn this changes our outside. Believing that Jesus died for you and me – we are united. Through faith, we are brothers and sisters – the children of God.

There is nothing I want more than to shout out and rejoice in the love of God the Father. Every day and every hour, Jesus guides you and me, to the heart of the Father.

In our secular world, you and I may stand alone, but we are united in spirit with other Christians world wide. We stand strong against all the secular agendas that blow our way creating an environment of division, uncertainty and fear. Through the secular forces of this world: cancel culture, political correctness, identity politics, gender politics, LGBT, global warming, abortion, health (Covid-19), class and economic politics reign and the raise of socialist and communist agendas, these all points towards us like sharp blades, poking and shearing away from you and me the truth that is only found in Jesus. It’s goal is to divide, and creates an atmosphere fear and doubt. They divert our attention away from God.

We know these are the works of Satan. To believe is to know we are all equal and children of God. In the end, it is our belief that Jesus died on the cross for each of us, that unites us.

The question is do we believe or not?

Let us be united in Faith, Hope and Charity – LOVE.

God Bless 💖

I Surrender

19 For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ; 20 and it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 21 I do not nullify the grace of God; for if justification comes through the law, then Christ died for nothing. Galatians 2:19-21 | NRSV

The old me was not a nice person. I was arrogant and self indulgent. Everything revolved and was about – me. Through the grace of God – he called my name when I was at my worse. I was broken. I was busy filling up my well of needs. Filling up empty holes, lead to bigger ones. I was empty. Nothing brought me joy. In fact, when I looked into the mirror, I saw an pretentious me.

Through the grace of God, he lifted me up and embraced me with his divine grace and mercy. He now holds my heart!

Surrendered

Death has no hold on me now. The me today is renewed and has surrendered to the love of Jesus. His death on the cross has refreshed this lump of clay. Through faith and surrendering to Jesus, I am being remade – the me – I am meant to be.

My sin washed away in His blood, my body renewed with His death. I have been crucified with Christ. The life I now lead is a testament to His hand in my life.

Prayer:

I ask for the grace of God to work freely in me. Amen.

God Bless ❤️

A Stronger Me

Ephesians 2:4-10

4 But God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us 5 even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the ages to come he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God— 9 not the result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are what he has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life.

A stronger me in my own existence

Above drawing is from my series on “a stronger me in my own existence”.

Meditation:

How did I get here?

I got lost in my journey

cold and dark

my deadpan eyes looked for You.

i was lifeless, but

Your hands reached out for mine and held them

my body felt the tingling flow of your warmth

Your love

You pulled me into your embrace.

Just as i am

dirty and soiled

Your healing touch

my soul refreshed

You showed me a glowing orb

Mesmerized, I held it in my hands

lifting it up high

together in the dark

we walk the road ahead

Thoughts:

The beauty of God’s mercy is in His abundant love for us. Where we were once tainted by our brokenness – our sins, by God’s grace, we have been saved by faith. What a wonderful gift He gives us.