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.

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.

Mary’s Month

Ways to Celebrate Mary’s Month

(https://www.motherteresa.org/)

There are many ways to celebrate this particular devotion. Most churches have a daily recitation of the rosary. Some include the crowning of Our Lady’s statue. The important thing is that Mary be honored in a special way. At one time, the domestic celebrations of the month of May were widespread, especially by setting up a small May altar in the home.

♦Consecration and Entrustment to Mary

♦Litanies of the Blessed Virgin Mary

♦Akathist Hymn to the Most Holy Mother of God (the Theotokos)

♦The Holy Rosary

♦The Regina Coeli

 ♦Holy Rosary

 

Saint Teresa of Calcutta:

“During this beautiful month of Our Lady, let us crown her with  fragrant flowers – the flowers of love, gentleness, meekness and  humility for one another, and ask Jesus to be truly a cause of joy to her as He was.” (From her letters)

Let’s take time each day and venerate our beloved Mother Mary.

God Bless 💖

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:

God’s Hand

Getting together as a family is often a challenge for us – My husband, Daniel and our son, Mathieu works Sunday. It’s often only Aleeza and I at home. All the craziness of maintaining one bubble under Covid-19 lockdown takes it toll on each of us psychologically and emotionally. While our world is thrown into chaos, our love and faith in God remains steadfast.

A look back to Easter Sunday was a special day for our family. It’s the first time we were able to get together to go to Sunday Mass. This was before lockdowns and curfews. We maintained our family bubble in St. Ignatius. It was a bit daunting for me, as the number of times I have been out in public since Covid – 19 can be counted on one hand – 3.

With great blessings from God, Aleeza was baptized and I was confirmed at St. Ignatius in Montreal into the Catholic Faith.

Praise be to God!

We give thanks to her Teen Alpha teen Ignation | St. Ignatius of Loyola MTL for drawing her into God’s embrace. Nothing can express the joy of being in God’s grace and love. Along with my own new found family at St. Ignatius via my Camino and Alpha group Alpha | St. Ignatius of Loyola MTL.

Getting involved and participating in these groups really helped both my daughter and I to stay focused on Jesus. It helped in answering hard knock questions about the meaning of life and our path in it.

Getting involved in a group setting via Zoom was at first daunting on me. As I have expressed in previous post, I am very much the awkward nerd who is not at ease in socializing. My passion/s rips across me, and I often need to minimize my behavior not to scare those around me. Hence direct and candid as I am, I often have to harness myself. My own daughter often tells me, “Mom! Tell me in simple language. I don’t understand you”. I was not sure I would be able to participate in either Alpha or my Camino group. Thanks be to God, these groups have enriched in my spiritual growth.

Rare Family Picture

Trusting in God’s hand to lead me is based on prayer. It is also an open humbleness on my part to know my will is strong, and that for change to happen in my spiritual life, I must let go of my need to control, and give it into His Almighty hands to guide me. Walking by faith and not by sight.

It is only by letting go, that God’s abundant graces pours down upon me. Sometimes it is like a torrential downpouring that can overwhelm me, but I have come to understand that only by the immensity of it, that I can be knocked down onto my knees in complete adoration of Him.

I have discovered that my Jesus, is a jealous lover, who does not want my focus to be anywhere else except upon Him. Since my confirmation, my soul has fallen more deeply in love with Him. I long to please Him. Endless songs of praise pieces my heart:

Photo by Jackson David on Unsplash

Your Hands

my hands stretched upwards

with eyes tightly shut

i feel your caress

like a gentle wisp of breeze

delicate and feathery

my whole being soaring

Out of my heart come forth songs

to a lover who i know waits patiently for me.

i am His earthly bride, and all i long for

is to please Him in every thing i do

There is a new found purpose

in every steps i take in this dust bowl

All my shortcoming exposed

there is no shame in sharing with Him

the deepest secrets of my soul

For i know He forgives me

washing away the stains that separates Him from me

So that all His love

in the outpouring of his mercy and grace

flows easily into my being

His hands mold and shapes me

so that i am anew – glowing in light

His bride waiting so patiently for Him

God Bless 💖

They’ll Know We Are Christian

After my confirmation Easter Sunday, I felt my spirit lift in joy as I received the grace of God into my soul. At the same time this pass week has been a time of great reflection. Lord God, where do you want me to go from here? What do you want me to do?

All I know is that every cell of my body and soul yearns to put Jesus at the center…to never walk back into a life of secularism and sin. 40 years of wandering in the wilderness to finally come before Jesus – humbled – here I am. Finally I submit to His will, and His alone.

Photo by Thomas Schütze on Unsplash

That night, a song I recall singing as a child came to mind:

They’ll Know We Are Christians” 

We are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord;
We are one int he Spirit, we are one in the Lord;
And we pray that all unity will one day be restored.

Chorus: And they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love,
yes, they’ll know we are Christians by our love.

We will walk with each other, we will walk hand in hand;
We will walk with each other, we will walk hand in hand;
And together we’ll spread the news that God is in our land.

We Will work with each other, we will work side by side;
We will work with each other, we will work side by side;
And we’ll guard each man’s dignity and save each man’s pride.

All praise to the Father, from whom all things come;
And all praise to Christ Jesus, His only Son.
And all praise to the Spirit who makes us one.

After some research, I discovered it is a Christian hymn written in the 1960s by then Fr. Peter Scholtes.

The blessed message I got from God that night was, my journey is just beginning. I must regardless of my fears, go out and share the love of Jesus by my actions:

35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

John 13:25.

No it will not be easy, especially as I live in a world gone astray. It embraces secularism and makes a mockery of all things Holy. It is hard to step out in a world where the TRUTH is veiled in lies and deceit. It is even harder today amidst our cancel culture, as one thought or word that is not politically correct, immediately gets labelled as “crazy” or a “radical”. How do I express love in a world that embraces the “me” god. After a week of contemplation and prayer, I can only say, Jesus I trust in you!

Jesus I trust in you.

Jesus I trust in you.

Jesus I trust in you.

Know that as long as we “love” one another with a charity of heart, Jesus is right there propping us up.

Jesus, grace me with the gift of charity, to be able to love – especially those I find hard to love.

Traditional Choir:

Piano version:

Folksy Version:

May God bless each of you as you radiate His love in a world that has forgotten who He is.

Let each of us join with the Spirit of God to alight into the hearts of those near us – love.

Let us pray for a rebirth of sleeping souls.

Jesus we trust in You.

Amen💖