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!
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.
I ask for the grace of God to work freely in me. Amen.
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.
Above drawing is from my series on “a stronger me in my own existence”.
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
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
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.
Today is the Solemnity of the Corpus Christi – that is the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus – the presence of Jesus in the Eucharist.
Before I was confirmed into The Catholic Faith, I felt a deep dissatisfaction with my Protestant faith over the Communion. Communion is offered biweekly or monthly – depending on the denomination. It is also only symbolic. The bread and wine (or grape juice) is only symbolic of the body and blood of Jesus. This realization really hit home for me during the Covid-19 shut down of all churches and all religious activities. Worship moved online. For Communion from different Evangelical Protestant online services, we – the virtual congregation were asked to grab any carbohydrate to represent the bread, and a liquid to represent the blood.
On one such occasion my 14 year old daughter immediately went to the pantry and got a bowl of chips. From the refrigerator she grabbed a soft drink – telling me “Well, he said a carb and liquid”. This was 9 am in the morning and I was livid. After a few months of this, I was so turned off, I literally tuned out.
I prayed for Gods intervention – and that He did. He lead me to the Catholic Faith via Divine Mercy at The Divine Mercy, Scott Hann’s books (Rome Sweet Home, and Hail, Holy Queen), St. Augustine, St. Aquinas, and St. Faustina’s journal. This in turn sparked within me a journey into researching Catholicism further. I was confirmed this Easter, and my 14 year old baptized into the Catholic Faith.
My personal pet peeve
In Protestantism, the communion – the bread and wine (grape juice) are merely symbolic of the body and blood of Jesus. This is problematic for me, as I see symbols as a vehicle for humans to make sense of their world.
Symbolism and their meanings are culturally defined, and, is a superficial way to comprehend the depth of what is (un)perceived as real. It is easier for our human mind to make symbols to understand and comprehend that which is sacred and profane.
To make a long story short, what drew me into the heart of the Catholic Faith is the belief that Jesus is truly present in the Eucharist, and the Virgin Mary is holy and the mother of Jesus. Hence she is also Queen of Heaven.
Having studied the Bible more deeply now, I have come to realize that although I had read all this in the Bible, I was not able to see the truth until God lifted my veil. The truth was in front of me, but I was not able to see until the grace of God let me see. The veil is lifted, and now I see. Praise be to God!
The real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist is not a belief shared by all. To see and believe in the richness of the Eucharist is to see the body and blood of Christ in it. This means stepping into faith and embracing Jesus’ presence in it. It also means rereading the Gospel with eyes that can visualize, feel, immense body and soul into His words and teaching.
Fr. Chris in his Corpus Christi homily takes us through the Eucharist step by step, and explains succinctly it’s profound and sacredness with scripture.
How do I share the Gospels with my friends and family?
For those of us who walk with Jesus, grace overflows within us, and it is only natural we want to share and embrace those around us into our joy. Jesus changes us. Jesus has healed us. It is natural we want to let others know.
The journey to the cross has been a long and winding one for me. When I think about it, Jesus has always been with me – at times walking beside me, and at other times holding me in His embrace as I meandered here and there in secular life. There were many times, I pushed Jesus away. He was always there. When I was ready – I fell upon His feet – humbled and in awe – for finally, I was ready to submit all of me to Him.
Healing comes from the grace of God – “a stronger ME in my own existence.”
Healing from Jesus is the willingness on my part to give into God’s will for me, and to be guided by the Holy Spirit. For my own journey with Jesus, this means daily meditation and contemplation into His words – The Bible and in prayer. In the beginning it was daunting to find a starting point, and there are many vehicles to guide us. I chose to follow along daily with The Bible in a Year (with Fr. Mike Schmitz) – available in many podcast online. Having the Sacraments became important to me, and I try to make it to mass at my local parish at least once or twice a week, but when I can’t receive the Holy Eucharist daily, I watch online via Divine Mercy – YouTube. Sometimes I watch the morning mass broadcast online from my local parish (Holy Name of Jesus Parish | Laval, QC, St. Ignatius of Loyola MTL | You Matter to God. You Matter to Us. (stig.ca).
Prayer is the most important part of my walk with Jesus. Each morning I take the time to praise and talk to Him. I also pray the Rosary after. This sounds like a routine, but it works for me. Praying the Rosary is an important part of getting to know Jesus. It is through contemplating the mysteries of each decade that I have come to have deeper insights into the passion of Jesus. I find when I let the Holy Spirit guide me in prayer, there is a rich understanding and depth into the life of Jesus that is heart felt.
Coming from a Protestant background that denied Mary’s holiness, finding the Holy Virgin Mary through the Rosary was an intense awakening for me. It gave me a Holy Mother who bespeaks to me the importance of being thoughtful and mindful.
I have got to say that I feel such a burst of joy within me, that it is only natural to want to share that light with others around me, especially those with whom I love, and with friends with whom I know are having challenges in their lives. It is natural I want to share with them the wonderful love and grace of Jesus. I want to shout out and let those around me know that in Jesus, there is Divine Mercy – forgive and healing.
Well, I have come to realize that sharing the Gospel means praying for them – those around us may be too invested in the secular world to want to hear about Jesus. I know I was! They may not be at a point in their life journey to think about their soul or eternity. They want to enjoy the now.
I invited many to join Alpha, and even after sharing my own story, not one of my friends or family members signed up. It took me some time to realize that they just were not ready, or too invested in “life” to want to know about Jesus. Their “no”, had me reflect upon my own journey to Jesus. I thought about my mom who never stopped praying for me.
How I can be effective is be a light through my own example – in the way I live my life – and continue to pray, love and care for those around me in my own actions, words, understanding and kindness. When others are ready or being called by Jesus, perhaps then, I will be the one used by Him to be there for them as one of the many “angels” there for them when they are at a crossroad.
Jesus, I trust in You 💖
Sharing with you an awesome homily from Fr. Chris on Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Luke 1:39-56)
Mary Visits Elizabeth
39 In those days Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country, 40 where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. 41 When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit 42 and exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. 43 And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me? 44 For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leaped for joy. 45 And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.”
Mary’s Song of Praise
46 And Mary said,
“My soul magnifies the Lord, 47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, 48 for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant. Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed; 49 for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name. 50 His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. 51 He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts. 52 He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly; 53 he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty. 54 He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, 55 according to the promise he made to our ancestors, to Abraham and to his descendants forever.”
56 And Mary remained with her about three months and then returned to her home.
This post is part of my series on Holy Virgin Mary. Here is a link to all the post:
It’s been years since I’ve work on my own themes and images. For the past 30 years, I’ve worked on small and large scale projects for work. Much of these themes were related to children and education.
For the past two weeks, I have been sketching again…building a body of background drawings for larger paintings.
Today, I feel free to express what I want to without constraints. I can be creative and express through my sketches and drawings for myself again. I can laid bare my soul in praise of God and His amazing love.
I have also been working with an art therapist along with a spiritual guide from St. Ignatius Spiritual Centre. Both have helped me deal with all the stress and anxieties that COVID-19 has produced in my workplace and communities.
Officially I am on sick leave, and taking the time to heal physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Praise be to God for looking after all my needs. I can take the time to glorify Him in everything I do.
I have freedom of will. God gave me the ability to make my own choices. He wants me to come to Him of my own free will. There are times I make the wrong choices, and before I know it, it snowballs into sin. Without realizing it, I tumble and fall:
“Stay awake and pray that you may not come into the time of trial; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Matthew 26:41
There is so much around me which can satisfy the now. Without realizing it, one step can lead to another, and before I know it, I am addicted.
I am a professed gamer, and there isn’t a game I have not played. There was a time when I beta tested online games. I have since stopped, and play games on my devices. Another thing I love to do is watch Chinese drama series via online streaming. There is nothing wrong with playing a game or even watching a favorite show. It is all about balance, and not to get to the point of being obsessive. My problem is before I know it, it gets out of control – and hours have passed within my virtual world, or I binge watch a Chinese series – all 24 episodes in 10 hours straight.
It is so easy to fall into obsessions, and it is just as important to be aware of it when I do. It starts slowly, and before I know it, it consumes all of my precious time.
The way out of it is the realization that the road is wide, and there is much distraction that keeps me from being in God’s presence and grace. It’s times like these, that I need extra help from the Holy Spirit to help me with discipline, and self control. It is not wrong to play a game, or even to watch a favorite series, but how I do it.
Thank you, Jesus for your daily guidance, and divine mercy and grace.
I dedicate this post in memory of my sister-in-law Diane who passed away on Divine Mercy Sunday, April 11, 2021. She was only 68 and afflicted with Dementia and Alzheimer. In the space 2 short months, the illness progressed to the degree where she lost all bodily functions.
We were notified on the Friday that she would only have a few weeks left. Immediately after the telephone call, we left what we were doing, and went to the hospital. I felt a heaviness in my heart because Diane was was a non practicing Catholic, and was moved by God to tell my husband and children to pray for her soul. This we did as we lifted our hearts in silent prayer standing in her room.
That night, I continued to pray for her soul. Asking Jesus, to meet her. I also asked Jesus to forgive me for not making the effort to get to know her more while she was alive. I also sought forgiveness of not sharing the Gospel with her.
Two days later, on Divine Mercy Sunday, we prayed one decade of the Divine Mercy Chaplet and Rosary. Diane was sleeping, and made a grunt as we were praying. When we were notified that night of her death, I felt the knowing confidence that comes only from Jesus, she was at peace. May the Spirit of God help her family and ours as we grieve and mediate upon Diane’s life on earth, and the hope of eternality in heaven.
I have been thinking about death this week, to live each day as if it is my first, last, and only day upon this earth. To always stay in the state of grace, because we never know when death comes knocking. Finally, to always pray the sick and dying, departing, and in purgatory. To save souls 💖