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.

Corpus Christi

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.

Solemnity of Corpus Christi

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.

Corpus Christi

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.

The Bread of life by St. Thomas Aquinas

Available on Amazon: The Bread of life : or St. Thomas Aquinas On the Adorable Sacrament of the Altar: Aquinas, St. Thomas, Rawes D.D., Fr. Henry: 9781979664905: Amazon.com: Books

Also free to read online: The Bread of Life, St Thomas Aquinas on the Adorable Sacrament of the Altar – Immaculata Library

In this blog: Ongoing Series – Be Inspired! (rejoiceandpraise.ca) please see CONTEMPLATING THE EURCHRISTIC MYSTERY OF SAINT THOMAS AQUINAS.

Mary’s Visit

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.”

A sketch for my series “a stronger ME in my own existence.” May 24, 2021

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:

Mary’s Month – Be Inspired! (rejoiceandpraise.ca)

Mary’s Trust – Be Inspired! (rejoiceandpraise.ca)

Mary’s Thought – Be Inspired! (rejoiceandpraise.ca)

Why Mary? – Be Inspired! (rejoiceandpraise.ca)

Know Mary – Be Inspired! (rejoiceandpraise.ca)

Who is Mary? – Be Inspired! (rejoiceandpraise.ca)

Creative Expression

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.

God Is Love
“Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.”
1 John 4 | NRSV

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.

❤️‍🔥 My heart is on fire for Jesus!

Page with more of my sketches: https://rejoiceandpraise.ca/recent-sketches/

Heart On Fire

Healing…what is it? We read of Jesus’ miracles of healing the sick, the blind and the crippled.

I think as much as they are real, the healing of Jesus is also a metaphor for us. A dark to light, or an unveiling of our eyes so that we see the truth – that is the only truth – that is in God the Father, in Jesus His beloved son, and in the Holy Spirit.

I can say this because I realize I am being lead by the Holy Spirit in a healing journey – and in the process giving me a greater insight into what it means when Jesus heals. It’s not some miraculous healing of the soul – it’s the choice within me to propel forward by faith into his embrace to be heal. It also means effort on my part to be an active participant in the healing process. A spiritual journey so to speak.

May 18, 2021

Picking up my sketch book for the first time in a long time, I am moved to draw and sketch again as I work through my heart. I feel this journey is for the healing of my soul.

It is about me saying a strong YES to my own existence! Reclaiming and letting the hand of God mold me in His image.

May 18, 2021

Thank you Jesus for your arms of love ❤️‍🔥my heart on fire for You.

Falling

it’s all about me

my pleasures

my desires

my lust

appeasing all my senses

i want it all now

i embrace it all

then one day i come to a cliff

i fall

i fall

i fall

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.

💖

You Know Me

my soul yearns for You

seeking to know you with my heart

which overflows with adoration

i am nourished

fed by Your bread of life

freely given to me

all i had to do was ask

Photo by Michael Fenton on Unsplash

There comes many moments in our lives when adoration pours out of our hearts and soul for Jesus. Rereading some of my favorite psalms echo the joys and love for our Almighty God. I can imagine in my minds eyes the fullness of David’s adoration for God. It is riveting, and touches a deep chord within the depth of our being. His passion filled words lift our spirit up high, and embraces us in worship and song for God.

Pure and simple love flows upwards into the stratosphere for our beloved Savior.

Psalm 139
For the director of music. Of David. A psalm.

You have searched me, Lord,
    and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
    you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
    you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
    you, Lord, know it completely.
You hem me in behind and before,
    and you lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
    too lofty for me to attain.

Where can I go from your Spirit?
    Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
    if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
    if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
    your right hand will hold me fast.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
    and the light become night around me,”
12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
    the night will shine like the day,
    for darkness is as light to you.

13 For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
    when I was made in the secret place,
    when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
    all the days ordained for me were written in your book
    before one of them came to be.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts, God!
    How vast is the sum of them!
18 Were I to count them,
    they would outnumber the grains of sand—
    when I awake, I am still with you.

19 If only you, God, would slay the wicked!
    Away from me, you who are bloodthirsty!
20 They speak of you with evil intent;
    your adversaries misuse your name.
21 Do I not hate those who hate you, Lord,
    and abhor those who are in rebellion against you?
22 I have nothing but hatred for them;
    I count them my enemies.
23 Search me, God, and know my heart;
    test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 See if there is any offensive way in me,
    and lead me in the way everlasting.

In our world today of unfiltered music that often runs in opposition to God’s Holiness, it is truly a gift when I can find worship music that sing praises to our Almighty. They are Contemporary praise and worship music from hearts that bespeaks the challenges and love of Jesus in our world today. Just like in the Old Testament, today’s lyric and songs are from the heart – cries of hope, redemption, and love. Share Elevation Worship with those who don’t know Jesus. Play this and close your eyes, letting these songs take you on a journey with Jesus:

Elevation Worship – YouTube

What a friend I have in Jesus, He has my heart. As He draws me nearer to Him, He heals me of all my pain and the baggage that has weighted me down. Praise be to God for giving us His precious son – to die on the cross for me.

Start talking to Jesus, in Him you will find a friend:

Bread of Life

When I think about the amount of time I use to spend in the past “lusting” and obtaining material things to satisfy my needs, I am sadden by the waste of time and effort.

In my daily walk with Jesus, there has been a shedding of all the things in this world that were once so meaningful. The things in the past I placed so much effort and energies to obtain, have lost their luster. I didn’t come to this realization alone, but it is Christ working in me through His Holy Spirit. If it were up to my own will, I would probably have continued this meaningless spiral of descent straight into the dark abyss of debt.

Jesus helped me let go of all those things I felt I needed to satisfy my body and soul. He has taught me that my body and being is a temple for Him and Him alone. Through the Holy Spirit working in me, I can say, “NO” to the all desires that soils my body and soul from the smooth flow of His grace and mercy.

Filling up one hole leads to more holes cropping up, and with it comes even more ominous holes. Going forward means accepting and receiving Jesus as my true bread of life.

Photo by James Coleman on Unsplash

26 Jesus answered them, ‘Very truly, I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. 27 Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For it is on him that God the Father has set his seal.’ 

John 6:27

It is a humbling lesson. I thank the Almighty God for all these lessons, and with them, I can walk freely to and with Jesus.

Through Jesus, I have the bread of life. His bread is steadfast and with it, I will never go hungry. My spiritual holes are filled by the Holy Spirit.

35 Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. 36 But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. 37 Everything that the Father gives me will come to me, and anyone who comes to me I will never drive away; 38 for I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me. 39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. 40 This is indeed the will of my Father, that all who see the Son and believe in him may have eternal life; and I will raise them up on the last day.’

God Bless 💖