To Be Free

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There seems to be so much worry, anxiety and confusion in our world today. This leads to negative implications in our lives – Covid – 18, social media correctness and cancel culture, to a suppression of free speech under the premise of political correctness, racism, sexism, and gender issues, and the mores. When all this is thrown into a confusing moral matrix, it becomes all the more dauntingly confusing.

This morning after spending time in mindful prayer, a Sunday School (Christian) song I learnt long ago echoed in my mind. Songs, especially those from our early childhood memory are a great source of comfort. They remind us of God’s closeness. They also remind us of God’s care for us, as well as His immense love for each of us. Most of all, they recall a time of innocence and freedom from the scars of our world.

Lyric: To be free

In this world of confusion, discontent, disillusion, do you have what it takes to be free.

Are you free from disaster do you know what you’re after. Do you have what it takes to be free.

To be free… to be free..

Do you have what it takes to be free.

Are you free from disaster do you know what you’re after.

Do you have what it takes to be free.

There’s a life that’s worth living, there’s a way of forgiving

All your sins, grief and trouble you’d seen.

Just let Christ be your master then you’ll find what you’re after

And you’ll have what it takes to be free.

To be free… to be free..

Do you have what it takes to be free.

Just let Christ be your master then you’ll find what you’re after

And you’ll have what it takes to be free.

(Unknown)

I am thankful for the freedom that only Jesus can offer me.

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Restoration and Protection Promised

43 But now thus says the Lord,
    he who created you, O Jacob,
    he who formed you, O Israel:
Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
    I have called you by name, you are mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
    and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
    and the flame shall not consume you.
For I am the Lord your God,
    the Holy One of Israel, your Saviour.
I give Egypt as your ransom,
    Ethiopia and Seba in exchange for you.
Because you are precious in my sight,
    and honoured, and I love you,
I give people in return for you,
    nations in exchange for your life.
Do not fear, for I am with you;
    I will bring your offspring from the east,
    and from the west I will gather you;
I will say to the north, ‘Give them up’,
    and to the south, ‘Do not withhold;
bring my sons from far away
    and my daughters from the end of the earth—
everyone who is called by my name,
    whom I created for my glory,
    whom I formed and made.’

Meditating in prayer on the above verse also makes me realize how loved I am. How close God is, as well as how much He cares. God is ever present and loves each of us. It’s up to each of us to accept God in our lives. That is, we have the freedom to choose God or not.

💖

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 ❤️

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)

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.

💖

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 💖

Betrayal’s Bite

Betrayal comes from the one closest to us. It cuts deep into our core, and creates within us a veil of distrust. I was betrayed by someone I thought was my “bestie”. She was a friend with whom we shared many fun moments. Our families use to spend a lot of time together. However, when my husband and I hit rock bottom and lost our financial standing, all our friends disappeared. I realize afterwards they were predators. There were there for the free ride when the going was good, but when all that was gone, they too left.

What hurt me the most during this challenging time was the person with whom I thought was my “bestie”, was among the list of friends who left us. It hurt me that she wasn’t able to be emotionally supportive.

Disillusionment harden my heart, and it took me a while to trust in people again. It could have lead to many negative and irrational judgements on my part, but the Holy Spirit lead me to forgive. It was a hard lesson into the meaning of friendship and the human soul. I came to understand that true friendship transcends the challenges of life. It is a bond that is a based on – love.

L.O.V.E.

Is the most misconceived word. Do we truly know what it means?

Love is the friend I have in Jesus. No matter how rocky our road can get, experience has taught me that Jesus is faithful. That year, through divine providence, we experienced many miracles. I can’t even grasp how Jesus made it possible, and I can only picture a tapestry of intertwining treads (different life threads). The hand of God was evident in our lives as He pulled cosmic strings to help us. There was the stranger who gave us two bags of groceries and gifts for our children that fateful Christmas. A family member stepped forward to help us out financially. A financial institution helped us reorganize and downsize (we sold all our real estate holdings), and we kept only our house. We also felt the stress lift off our shoulders. My husband who found himself unemployed during this period also found a new job. God’s hand was felt as He taught us a lesson in humility and humbleness. Our children also changed to public schools. My son telling us years latter that his years in private school was like being in “prison”.

We journeyed through this period as a family trusting in God’s hand in our lives.

My God is now my strength. He taught me to forgive and walk forward.

Most of all, God journeyed with us and did not let our hearts fall prey to Satan. God was there holding us up.

Jesus Foretells His Betrayal

21 After saying this Jesus was troubled in spirit, and declared, ‘Very truly, I tell you, one of you will betray me.’ 22 The disciples looked at one another, uncertain of whom he was speaking. 23 One of his disciples—the one whom Jesus loved—was reclining next to him; 24 Simon Peter therefore motioned to him to ask Jesus of whom he was speaking. 25 So while reclining next to Jesus, he asked him, ‘Lord, who is it?’ 26 Jesus answered, ‘It is the one to whom I give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish.’ So when he had dipped the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas son of Simon Iscariot.27 After he received the piece of bread, Satan entered into him. Jesus said to him, ‘Do quickly what you are going to do.’ 28 Now no one at the table knew why he said this to him. 29 Some thought that, because Judas had the common purse, Jesus was telling him, ‘Buy what we need for the festival’; or, that he should give something to the poor. 30 So, after receiving the piece of bread, he immediately went out. And it was night. John 13:21-33

Let us examine our lives and not become disillusioned. Trust in Jesus, and do not let your heart and soul fall prey to Satan’s lies and guiles. I know – I almost fell prey to my social status when the going was good. Upon reflection, I realize the many “things” I hold dear in life are temporal. They can literally be here today and gone tomorrow.

Betrayal’s bite can hurt. Let Jesus heal us when we are bitten. Let His hand lift us up when we fall. Let Him guide through the thorns and bristles of life.

Jesus, I trust in You.

Thank you!💖

Mary’s Thought

A mothers’ quiet thoughts as she observes her children speaks volume about her strength and fortitude. As a mom, one of the most challenging aspect of being a mother is the multifaced roles and characters we have in caring for our children.

We are the caregiver who hide our inward fears when our children are sick. We nurse our children back to health keeping night long vigils by their bedside.

How many times have I held my tongue from making a hurtful retort. I recall the many times I literally bit my tongue to refrain from sounding like a nag. Being a mother is also balancing act, especially when it comes to positive reinforcements. It is also having a firm fortitude, and giving sincere praise when it is due, and not giving it when it is not.

A mother’s silence is her keep watch over her child, and letting them grow as you stand by them. It is guiding them to be the best they can be, and to learn the skills of critical thinking by providing them with the opportunities to hone in life skills.

As a mother, Holy Mary “treasured” all the things she heard, witnessed and learnt from her son, and ponder them she did – she was both a reflective and discerning woman with humble and quiet strength. There is much I can learn from Mary.

God Bless 💖