I read this verse today , and it resonates with challenges in my Faith journey.
“Guard your steps when you go to the house of God; to draw near to listen is better than to offer the sacrifice of fools; for they do not know that they are doing evil. Be not rash with your mouth, nor let your heart be hasty to utter a word before God, for God is in heaven, and you upon earth; therefore let your words be few.”–Ecclesiastes 5:1-2
God Bless each of you as you take one step at a time towards Jesus Christ and grow into a better “you” in your existence before God🙏💕
When I first became a Catholic, I delve right into my new faith with gusto and excitement. I remember my first Lent going a bit overboard with fasting, giving up coffee, no gaming, and no shopping without really understanding the “why” I was doing it. I was miserable! Yes, I followed through it with the mindset that it was what Catholics do during Lent.
As one matures in their spiritual journey with God, one goes through a surface and more importantly an inner transformation of a deeper understanding of faith. Who I am as a child of God and what does He want for me? Where one was once a child and did as we were told, walking with Jesus leads to a blossoming spirituality. Reflecting within and without ourselves as we head into Easter, there are heart felt insights into the child within who loves God, and who journeys in hope and love. For the realization that through the death of Jesus on the cross, one can cross the bridge to the Father. Jesus died for you and me so that we may have a place next to God.
My Lenten this year is not a list of sacrifices as in previous years, but an inward awareness of me as the child of God whose brokenness is healed through the death of Christ.
Two verses moves my heart today:
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.
New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition
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.
New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition
This Lenten moves me to rejoice within and it’s in the heart and not my headspace. It is a sincere look within, and in doing this, I see the authentic me as Jesus sees me reflected back at me.
I raise my heart in prayer for each of us to be filled with joy and hope in Jesus.
Finding myself is a theme that shows up in my Daily Examen this Lenten. This is part of stripping away the many layers of me as I draw nearer to God. All the distractions that I have placed upon myself believing they will bring me closer to God, are being peeled off.
A part of my journey in life is seeking happiness, love and saintliness (holiness). These are graces I have prayed for the past few months – graced awareness.
What is graced awareness?
Happiness is not an achievement; love is not an achievement; holiness is not an achievement. They are each a grace—a grace called awareness, a grace called looking, observing, and understanding.
In our daily walk as a Christian/Catholic, it’s so easy to get blogged down by life. Taking the time to be mindful, watchful, alert and awake takes practice and time. In asking God for the grace of awareness, one can see everything in our daily lives reflected back. With the help of His divine grace one can see the authentic self without the distortions of layers upon layers of our world piled upon us.
“Set free from human judgment, we should count as true only what God sees in us, what he knows, and what he judges. God does not judge as man does. Man sees only the countenance, only the exterior. God penetrates to the depths of our hearts. God does not change as man does. His judgment is in no way inconstant. He is the only one upon whom we should rely. How happy we are then, and how peaceful! We are no longer dazzled by appearances, or stirred up by opinions; we are united to the truth and depend upon it alone. I am praised, blamed, treated with indifference, disdained, ignored, or forgotten; none of this can touch me. I will be no less than I am. Men and women want to play at being a creator. They want to give me existence in their opinion, but this existence that they want to give me is nothingness. It is an illusion, a shadow, an appearance, that is, at bottom, nothingness. What is this shadow, always following me, behind me, at my side? Is it me, or something that belongs to me? No. Yet does not this shadow seem to move with me? No matter: it is not me. So it is with the judgements of men: they would follow me everywhere, paint me, sketch me, make me move according to their whim, and, in the end, give me some sort of existence … but I am disabused of this error. I am content with a hidden life. How peaceful it is! Whether I truly live this Christian life of which St. Paul speaks, I do not know, nor can I know with certainty. But I hope that I do, and I trust in God’s goodness to help me.”
—Bishop Jacques-Benigne Bossuet, Meditation For Lent, p. 99-101
May God Bless each of us as we journey towards the cross with humbleness and love🙏💕
While talking to my Spiritual Director, I realized in our discussion about my daily examen, it was too focused on the negative – on sin.
Pages and pages in my journal centred on the negative. As I reflect on this, I realize my focus on sin stems from my strict Protestant upbringing. Sin and hell bent fire sermons expounding again and again human shortcomings and redemption through Jesus. My spiritual journey will look also at the positive – the goodness of God, and his amazing grace for me.
I did a little search online for a deeper and more effective way to do my Daily Examen, and share it with my readers on this post.
As I am working daily with St. Ignatius Spiritual Direction, it is normal I will share the Examen:
St. Ignatius invites us to find God in all things. That means we have to pay careful attention to how the Spirit is moving in each moment of our daily lives. We have to take a magnifying glass to the seemingly ordinary, seeking to encounter the Divine.
That’s why the Examen is such a powerful prayer. In it, we’re invited to encounter God, express gratitude for the gift and gifts of each day, and to commit to make up for any mistakes we may have made.
The Examen is a flexible prayer, too, responding to the signs of the times. Below, you’ll find several variations to meet your need in this moment.
How to Pray the Examen
1. Place yourself in God’s presence. Give thanks for God’s great love for you.
2. Pray for the grace to understand how God is acting in your life.
3. Review your day — recall specific moments and your feelings at the time.
4. Reflect on what you did, said, or thought in those instances. Were you drawing closer to God, or further away?
5. Look toward tomorrow — think of how you might collaborate more effectively with God’s plan. Be specific, and conclude with the “Our Father.”
God Bless your journey with him. Please pray for me as I pray for you. 💕🙏
Understanding Demonology and the spiritual war we are in will help us maneuver our world. It will also help each of us lead an authentic Catholic life. Sharing with my readers Fr. Chad Ripperger’s lecture on this topic. It’s almost 2 hours long, and very comprehensive based on his experience as an exorcist and demonology.
I hope I am not bombarding my readers with too much information (my priest once told me to take baby steps in teaching RCIA). The topic can be mind boggling, and most will be afraid to know or discuss this topic, but pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit. God Bless 🙏💕.
Sharing with all my readers to in-depth discussion with Ralph Martin and Peter Herbeck on living in our challenging times and how to manoeuvre within our secular world.
Our merciful God has always given us the freedom of choice. I know for a fact that sometimes I have a hard time discerning between what I think is wrong or right. Our world makes it harder for each of us to discern as truths get cloaked in lies, and truth is fused with lies.
This is one of the realities of living as a Catholic or Christian. “How do I live as a someone walking with Jesus, in a world that glorifies sin?”
SIN is rampant in my world. I need only look around me to see it in my everyday – from subjective truth based on one’s own lived experience to a disregard for rational discourse and the natural law. It is in my work place, in the political climate I live in, in my social milieu, in the media and the mores.
for we walk by faith, not by sight.
2 Corinthians 5:7 New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition
As I am also learning how to manoeuvre within and without my world, I share with all the following book and article on this topic.
I hope they will help us walk in the path of Jesus towards God in a world gone dark💕🙏
The Benedict Option: A Strategy for Christians in a Post-Christian Nation.
Telling those around me that the three days of darkness may soon be upon us begets an earful of disbelief and awkward laughter. I ask myself why do I bother. My main reason is to let others know of what may come and to prepare for it.
Hence dear readers, I post this not to bring stress and anxiety, but to help all prepare regardless if it’s in our life time or not. There has been plenty of personal prophecies on this as well as Marian apparitions, and there is also my own personal dreams/visions.
All I can say is that just as many will mock and not listen, there are those who will prepare as the bride prepares for her groom – The Parable of the 10 Virgins on Matthew 25:1.
Keep our hearts focused on Jesus and deter not from him in the face of all the calamities that befalls us, especially during the signs of our time.
There has been many signs of late, from the latest of Northern lights: Aurora seen across UK in spectacular display, to the UFO aka demon phenomenon, to the ongoing power narrative and war in the Ukraine, to the possibility of a world war that will be fought with nuclear and bio weapons (if we haven’t already seen this), earthquakes, unusual changes in weather patterns due to global warming narratives, economic fallout, as well as the legalization of abortion in many countries to the degeneration of male and femaleness to “other” – transgenderism and trans-humanism.
I can’t help but recall Noah’s time (Genesis 6-8); Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19); and other tribulations upon humanity.
It’s a time of preparation for all of us, especially as we are in the Lenten season. I know I have been called to focus on Jesus, to reflect upon his Passion, to do a daily examen, and seek forgiveness. It is only with a Jesus centred heart that I can prepare my family and those I love for the coming times.
Whether those around me listen of not, it is important we share what we know. If we are mocked, we go tell the next person:
14 If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet.
Matthew 10:14 New International Version
There is much written and available online as to how to prepare. This information can be googled. For my family I have blessed 100% beeswax candles on hand along with blackout curtains on most of my windows. I am very confident that those of us who have a Jesus centred life will be protected by God’s angels. Please discern when reading all information online, and seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Overall, pray, pray and pray!
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
2. Optional Opening Prayers
St. Faustina’s Prayer for Sinners O Jesus, eternal Truth, our Life, I call upon You and I beg Your mercy for poor sinners. O sweetest Heart of my Lord, full of pity and unfathomable mercy, I plead with You for poor sinners. O Most Sacred Heart, Fount of Mercy from which gush forth rays of inconceivable graces upon the entire human race, I beg of You light for poor sinners. O Jesus, be mindful of Your own bitter Passion and do not permit the loss of souls redeemed at so dear a price of Your most precious Blood. O Jesus, when I consider the great price of Your Blood, I rejoice at its immensity, for one drop alone would have been enough for the salvation of all sinners. Although sin is an abyss of wickedness and ingratitude, the price paid for us can never be equalled. Therefore, let every soul trust in the Passion of the Lord, and place its hope in His mercy. God will not deny His mercy to anyone. Heaven and earth may change, but God’s mercy will never be exhausted. Oh, what immense joy burns in my heart when I contemplate Your incomprehensible goodness, O Jesus! I desire to bring all sinners to Your feet that they may glorify Your mercy throughout endless ages (Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska, 72).
You expired, Jesus, but the source of life gushed forth for souls, and the ocean of mercy opened up for the whole world. O Fount of Life, unfathomable Divine Mercy, envelop the whole world and empty Yourself out upon us.
(Repeat three times) O Blood and Water, which gushed forth from the Heart of Jesus as a fount of mercy for us, I trust in You!
3. Our Father
Our Father, Who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name; Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, Amen.
4. Hail Mary
Hail Mary, full of grace. The Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death, Amen.
5. The Apostles’ Creed
I believe in God, the Father almighty, Creator of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried; He descended into hell; on the third day He rose again from the dead; He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty; from there He will come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting. Amen.
6. The Eternal Father
Eternal Father, I offer you the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Your Dearly Beloved Son, Our Lord, Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world.
7. On the 10 Small Beads of Each Decade
For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.
8. Repeat for the remaining decades
Saying the “Eternal Father” (6) on the “Our Father” bead and then 10 “For the sake of His sorrowful Passion” (7) on the following “Hail Mary” beads.
9. Conclude with Holy God (Repeat three times)
Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us and on the whole world.
10. Optional Closing Prayers
Eternal God, in whom mercy is endless and the treasury of compassion — inexhaustible, look kindly upon us and increase Your mercy in us, that in difficult moments we might not despair nor become despondent, but with great confidence submit ourselves to Your holy will, which is Love and Mercy itself.
O Greatly Merciful God, Infinite Goodness, today all mankind calls out from the abyss of its misery to Your mercy — to Your compassion, O God; and it is with its mighty voice of misery that it cries out. Gracious God, do not reject the prayer of this earth’s exiles! O Lord, Goodness beyond our understanding, Who are acquainted with our misery through and through, and know that by our own power we cannot ascend to You, we implore You: anticipate us with Your grace and keep on increasing Your mercy in us, that we may faithfully do Your holy will all through our life and at death’s hour. Let the omnipotence of Your mercy shield us from the darts of our salvation’s enemies, that we may with confidence, as Your children, await Your [Son’s] final coming — that day known to You alone. And we expect to obtain everything promised us by Jesus in spite of all our wretchedness. For Jesus is our Hope: through His merciful Heart, as through an open gate, we pass through to heaven (Diary, 1570).
Although it says in the Bible we know neither the time nor day when God will reveal his hand. I feel God is revealing to many of us “signs of the times,” just as Marian apparitions have also prepared her children. Please pray on it, and ask for the guidance of the Holy Spirit. We exist in this time line for a reason. God has entrusted each of us to shine with the light of love and truth.