Digging Deep in Prayer

Why do I pray the Rosary?

I have been reflecting upon this after my daughter asked me why I pray the Rosary. I simply told her I am asking Holy Mary – who was Jesus’ mother on earth – to intercede on my behalf. Very much like when she asks me to talk to her math teachers because of a bad grade due.

There are many views by well meaning individuals who have written at length about their views on praying the Rosary. They give warnings and use scripture to reinforce their claims that praying the Rosary is a form of idolatry. On the other side of the pendulum are Catholics in defense of the Rosary. I will not comment on this debate, and for those readers who are interested, you can do your own research, and then draw your own conclusions. This is what I did when I found myself moving towards Catholicism. There is a difference between viewing from the outside, without understanding the context within.

Photo by Marco Ceschi on Unsplash

For myself, the rosary is a deep contemplation of the journey and major events of our Lord Jesus Christ. His time on earth is represented by decades. It guides me to think more deeply about his life. It starts from the beginning of his human life in Mary’s womb up, and includes His crucifixion, and His resurrection. I am deeply moved when I pray the Rosary. Not only is it auditory, but I visualize in my minds eyes His extraordinary journey here on earth. His cry to God in the garden of Gethsemane , His humanity, and His Crucifixion are all made real for me. There are moments I find my eyes well up in tears as I relive those moments in pray. It is a living prayer, and it moves me to deeply meditate. It also enriches my understanding God’s love for me.

Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. De Agostini / G. Sioen / Getty Images

Holding the Rosary in my hands is something that is tangible, and it’s smooth surface helps me concentrate on Jesus’ journey as my hands move from one bead to another. It keeps me focused and on track in my prayerful journey.

Praying the Rosary, is asking the closest human to Jesus during his mortal time on earth – His mother – the Holy Virgin Mary to intercede on my behalf. It is that simple.

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you Jesus,

For the many ways you draw us.

In prayer we fall into Your embrace

Through prayer you comfort us,

It’s one of the many ways you show us.

Your death on Calvary is the ultimate sacrifice

so that we may have life ever lasting.

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you Jesus.

Throwing Out the Debris

Social media – whether it be Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Parler, has a way of drawing me in so that my time is sucked away and my mind starts to look like the inside of my vacuum bag – full of the debris of my world – ominous and darkly troublesome for my soul. Before I know it, I’ve wasted 2 hours.

photo by Christopher Ott at Unsplash

Two hours later, I feel overwhelmed by a deep sense of sadness. From this I start to feel angry. I see the great divide between the truth and the narratives being pushed on social media and main stream media outlets. I see one side pushing a narrative that hides corruption, and lies to cover it. After the anger, a feeling of helplessness sets in. Then depression as I feel the demised of our humanity. Is what I am reading real or fake? How can we discern the truth from the lies?

I recently deleted FB, Twitter, Snapchat (I miss taking cute pictures with it!), and use only Instagram, Pinterest (for sharing recipes), and Parler. I also adjusted my browser settings (on my laptop) so that I don’t see the newsfeed (MSN news).

One thing for sure – I can only put my absolute trust in Jesus. With the Holy Spirit working in me, I am thankful, I can discern the difference between light and dark. The word of God – Bible – becomes my foundation for Truth. It also ignites within me a fire to seek out the truth, and that means doing my own research and being responsible for what I believe in.

Photo by Josh Applegate at Unsplash

I pray for God to give me the confidences to live in these stressful times, and despite all the negative news around me, guide me to grow deeper each day in Faith in HIM.

The Gospel reading for today’s Mass (Luke 21:5-11), gives me the confidence that what is unfolding in front of me is expected to happen before His return. I don’t know Gods’ timeline, and it may not be in my lifetime, but it gives me the confidence to know that HE is in control.

16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.

Ephesians 6:16 NIV

Thanks for reading. I pray each of you find the confidence to follow Jesus. Peace and Love to all of you. God Bless!

Monday Mania

24 This is the very day of the Lord that brings

gladness and joy, filling our hearts with glee.

Psalm 118:24 Passion Translation

Today was one of those hectic Mondays where I went totally off schedule – all because I decided to stay in bed for one extra hour. That snowballed into a manic Monday! I worked through lunch, and at one point was multitasking between my iPad, laptop and my iPhone. I also didn’t walk the dog. What was my excuse? “It snowed the night before, and it’s too cold and slippery out!”

I really think the one thing I got right today was reading todays scriptures while I was still in bed (I am being a bad role model here). Another was logging online to participate in my daily morning Mass surrounded by my devices. I had to mentally slap my hands a few times when I heard my iPhone ding with incoming text – “Ignore them” I said to myself. I had this mental image of me in front of God on judgement day – of my hands moving towards my tablet or iPhone. Oh Lord God, forgive me…my flesh is weak!

Partaking in the Eucharist is a daily must for me (virtually these days) – to let the Body and Blood of Jesus spiritually heal and grounded me for the rest of the day.

Alone my flesh is weak, and I thank God for His Grace and Gift of Faith.

Your love for me is something my mind cannot totally phantom

It’s depth and magnitude too much for this mere mortal to comprehend.

I imagine it to be as far reaching as the endless sky above me

As vast and deep as the universe that has no end.

I can only kneel before Thee.

Thank you Jesus for dying on the cross for me.

my little prayer to God Almighty

My Story

How many are your works, Lord!
    In wisdom you made them all;
    the earth is full of your creatures.
Psalm 104:24 NIV

I have always painted, sketched and took photographs, but I hated the gallery process of submitting my work, and every rejection was a blow to my ego. I have often incorporated narrative in my work as well. As sharing with others was never really my goal or intent, hence I put minimal efforts in showing my work. I was happy to simply express creatively and silently. However, since I have been called to walk closer to Jesus – He probably also got tired of my many request for “signs” – I feel the push to step out from being a lukewarm believer, to one who will gladly share my faith. The “Parable of Talents” (Matthew 25:14-30), and the another in Luke on the “Parable of the Money Usage” (Luke 19:11-27) reminds me that Faith is freely given by God. We are call to invest and build up our faith and share it. Just as the “nobleman” in this story calls his servants and gives them “ten minas”, what they do with this “gift” is up to each servant. However, there are consequences. Those that reap more are given more “authority” over cities, and the one who beget nothing more is cast out.

I don’t want to find my self before God with empty palms.

This is my main motivation for creating a resource page. The goal is to help those who would like to explore their own spiritual journey. My testimony can be found by clicking this link: https://rejoiceandpraise.ca/testimony/

I also created a Portfolio page, and this actually arose out of a discussion with my son who is an active social influencer on Instagram. Our discussion centered around photography. His aunt had given him a digital camera, and we were discussing all the difference between the old days when I studied photography and today. In my days, using a manual camera meant understanding the mechanics of a camera. One also had to understand how and when to use different features such depth of field and aperture settings, along with a slew of filters and lens. Developing negatives was another thing the purist in me had to do. To get special effects, also meant hands in toxic solutions. Special effects was based on trial and error. Today, special effects are easily achieved by a touch of a photo apps. Whether using a digital camera today or one on any phone, one can create awesome images which would have taken me hours to achieve in the dark room.

With the handy apps and camera on our phones, I/we can literally create beautiful images out of the most mundane. This literally changes how I/we view my world.

I enjoy my daily walks with Candy our keeshond. It gives me the opportunity to look at the beauty of God’s creation – the life around us, and to see or capture some of that beauty in every day snapshots.

Snapshots and the photo images I create are used as conversations in my journey to God. Sometimes I work with an idea or theme, and sometimes, questions arises out of this journey. It is another vehicle in my walk with Jesus: https://rejoiceandpraise.ca/portfolio/

Praising God

Almighty God, I lift up my hands praise!

I’m embarrassed to show my watercolours, as they are often quick ink sketches. They are like journal entries, expressing of my thoughts about Jesus and my relationship with Him.

“Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him, and will dine with him. And he with Me.” Revelation 3:20

They are also about finding hope in Christ in our lost humanity. His Salvation and Glory is free. All we need to do is accept it as Zaccheus (Luke 19: 1-10) did.

“Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord God, The Almighty, who was and who is and who is to come.” Revelation 4:8
“Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing” Luke 23:34

Jesus died for the mankind’s original sin (The Fall of Man in Genesis 3) so that we may be redeemed if we believe in Him. When I think about His death on the cross, I am thankful that an unworthy sinner like me can be forgiven all my sins. I thank God for letting me draw closer to Him.

In return I send praises to my Almighty God, to Jesus the Son, and to the Holy Spirit for giving me the gift of faith. I, in turn, share my faith with all of you.

That each of you find the time to pray and draw into a closer relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ.

God Bless.

The Parable of the Talents

This week the “The Parable of the Talents” surfaced a number of times for me. It was discussed in a book I was reading, upon which I looked it up in the Bible (Matthew 25:14-30). It was also the Gospel reading in both yesterday’s and today’s Mass.

Three times the charm so to speak! What is God trying to tell me?

Needless to say, this parable was on my mind.

Who am I in this parable? Am I the one with the 5 talent? Am I the one with the two Talent? Or am I the one with 1 talent?

After praying on this Parable and rereading 3 different interpretations of it (NASB, Passion, and the NRSV) I can discern many different ways to look at this verse – from the standpoint of popular financial management to the more profane and spiritual.

But what does this parable say to me specifically?

I believe God is asking me, as well as all of us, to step out and use my/our “gifts” in praising and serving Him.

God knows us, and He will never give us more than we can handle. To those who can take on more, He will give more responsibility, but the fact remains, God does not want us passive and living in fear.

What skills or gifts?

In my case it could be through writing, my art, or my ability to time manage or multitask. It could be through the simple act of giving donations to your Parish or your Church.

Many local churches along with parishes are having a hard time financially especially in light of the restrictions imposed by the government due to COVID-19. Many parish, like mine have laid off staff, yet despite all these challenges, Gods work is being done. That’s thanks to volunteers who serve God and their community with love.

In many neighborhoods many families have been hit hard financially especially in the service industry or restaurants. Giving groceries to your local church and parish will allow them to send out food baskets to those in need. This is much needed as we head into December and the holiday season.

Believe me when I tell you receiving a food basket makes a difference to a family in need. 10 years ago my husband lost his job, and we were in deep financial difficulties. We were at rock bottom. A stranger from an organization sent us 2 bags of groceries along with gifts for our children. It was one of the most touching and humbling experiences in my life. I remember praying in thanksgiving to God. Sometimes it’s only when we experience pain, that we can see the salvation of Jesus. Nothing could contain my tears.

Gods immense love for us in the Holy sacrifice of His Son Jesus – a man who was sinless and divinely perfect – is a mystery many may never fully comprehend. I am unworthy, yet God calls me and you to his presence. He gives us the freedom to decide if we want to be a part of His family or not – how can I not shout with happiness and joy.

I have the freedom to chose. I can do do nothing, like that man with 1 talent, or I can be proactive and use all the skills and gifts I gave to glorify Him and make a difference.

We all have talents – whether it be the art of story telling, teaching, blogging, or something in the creative field in web design, painting, drawing, or photography. Then there are those with musical talents who can sing like an angel. Some are musically inclined, while others have talents in other areas. Cooking is another skill, one I wish I had. I do try cooking up a meal using Pinterest, but somehow it’s never as tasty as my sister-in-law’s cooking. Of course there are other skills like being able to manage time, multitasking, or use a computer. Some have the talent to make money through their investments. The skills and gifts we have is unique and different from one another.

There are also many of us who possess skills we may not be aware of. Why? We never challenged ourselves to step out of our comfort zone. I bet many of us have skills burrowed within us – and not yet actualized.

God calls for us to use our gifts.

What does the Parable of the Talents mean to me?

So what does the “Parable of the Talents” mean to me? It means showing how much I love God in all that I do, whether it be in writing, making a meal for the family, or stepping out of my comfort zone to show kindness and love to my family, my neighbours, my Parish community, my colleagues and the people around me. It is to make that 1 talent double, triple and grow by using the gifts I have with a sincere heart to glorify God – My Master!

The Parable of the Talents

14“For it is as if a man, going on a journey, summoned his slaves and entrusted his property to them; 15to one he gave five talents,[f] to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. 16The one who had received the five talents went off at once and traded with them, and made five more talents. 17In the same way, the one who had the two talents made two more talents. 18But the one who had received the one talent went off and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money. 19After a long time the master of those slaves came and settled accounts with them. 20Then the one who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five more talents, saying, ‘Master, you handed over to me five talents; see, I have made five more talents.’ 21His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and trustworthy slave; you have been trustworthy in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’ 22And the one with the two talents also came forward, saying, ‘Master, you handed over to me two talents; see, I have made two more talents.’ 23His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and trustworthy slave; you have been trustworthy in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’ 24Then the one who had received the one talent also came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew that you were a harsh man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not scatter seed; 25so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.’ 26But his master replied, ‘You wicked and lazy slave! You knew, did you, that I reap where I did not sow, and gather where I did not scatter? 27Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and on my return I would have received what was my own with interest. 28So take the talent from him, and give it to the one with the ten talents. 29For to all those who have, more will be given, and they will have an abundance; but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away. 30As for this worthless slave, throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ Matthew 25:14-30 NRSV

Aside: Basically we give and help where we can. My son asked me if we were having take-out tonight. For a family of four that’s almost $75 plus. I told him instead of take out, I’ve donated the amount to our local parish. Seeing his disgruntled face, I explained to him I could cook a meal. I furthered explain, how would it look if God were to ask me, “what did I spend on this month?”

❤️

I Believe in God’s Promise

35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written:

“For your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:35-39
Passion Edition

Nothing can separate me from Jesus! I believe! No matter how chaotic our world is, or burdened we are, we have salvation through Jesus.

We are not the first of His people to face tribulations, distress or persecution – it’s part of the history of mankind and it’s not about to change.

I can live each day with the knowledge, belief, and assurance – nothing can separate me from my (our) Saviour Jesus.

I can imagine how this statement must have given the early Christians much strength. It was during a time of great upheavals and prosecution of Christians. This statement comes from Psalms 44:22 – Paul’s draws from this verse (Psalms) to reassure Early Christians. Nothing can separate them “from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” even in the most difficult times.

I believe!

Why?

I believe – is the self realization in my own shortcomings of my limited human understanding. To believe is to be humbled by the knowledge that my humanity leads to a venerability – an innate understanding that there is something unseen that I cannot comprehend, nor necessarily articulate – that is greater than (i). It is an inner knowingness of something unseen. It is an inexplicable trust in the great “I Am”.

Yes, I’ve been asking myself these fundamental questions (back to basics) as I explore my own conversion – My Catholic Life (book). I re- examine basic principles of faith, prayer and contemplation of God’s word, and as I ask myself – “What do I believe?”

14 And God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And He said, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’ ” Exodus 3:14 NKJ

This verse totally floored me. It’s Truth humbled me speechless – it is a simple statement, yet profound and deep!

Hence, I believe is a heart felt emotion that transcends logical explanation or understanding. It is an awareness in an absolute truth. I believe in God’s abundant love for me, in His Son Jesus. Just as I believe in the Holiness of the Virgin Mary. These are unexplainable but heartfelt Truths.

Knowing this gives me great comfort and joy that nothing can separate me from God’s unconditionally love for us. His sincere and pure sacrifice of His Son Jesus for my (our) salvation!

I pray in humbled thankfulness.

Wow! Sorry if my ramblings seem all over the page. I just feel this need to shout it out…thank you for taking part in this journey into my walk with Jesus with me. In my walk I celebrate the heartfelt joy as I get to know Jesus more. I am moved to the depth of my soul – to tears.

Expressing my thoughts and journey in a blog let’s me share this with my tech savvy children via text message. It is also my legacy to them.

For my children – a song from U2 (who is U2 they will ask? “Ask your Dad”, I’ll tell them:

https://youtu.be/IZggv0UpgwI

Believing in God is Active Trust in Him

This has been a difficult post for me to write. It is based on the hand of God moving me to speak out – and to stop being a wimpy Christian – and to tell it as it is.

My heart has been a bit grieved with my walk as a Christian lately. I feel there is something missing in my Christian life. I yearn for depth, and God has been guiding me to look deeper – beyond the feel good verses.

It is also about a growing understanding of Catholicism (the beginning of my journey), and the meaning behind the Rosary, of being a woman, of the importance of family, and of our place and role in the world. It is also an awareness of the many prejudices I’ve held about “religion” as opposed to having a “personal” relationship with God. Ignorance begets intolerance.

I acknowledge I am very disillusioned by popular Christianity. I am also disappointed in Christian leaders who are more interested in amassing a following – “like” culture than in the spiritual well being for their members. I am especially disappointed in these mainstream leaders for not standing for truth, especially in light of what’s been going on in the U.S. – a country I don’t even live in. I am disgusted by corrupt politicians and politics, and I am just as disgusted by main stream media that supports it all. Fake news is real, just as evil is all around us.

Trust me when I say our Canadian political landscape is no better. Corruption and evilness spans across the globe.

Evangelical Christian leaders are too wimpy to address the really deeply rooted problems in our world – especially social or political ones. We live in a world ridden with social self indulgent, “like” and cancel culture. If we don’t agree or conform to the popular narrative, we are look down upon and ostracized – much like Jesus our Messiah was by the Pharisees of His time.

Lukewarm Christianity focuses on getting more “likes” through feel good sermons with the goals of attracting a mega fellowing through their social media platforms. The internet makes all this available and profitable – YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. Using social media platforms – Spiritual teaching becomes a feel good quasi meditative/spirit culture.

I have become quiet aggrieved by my mainstream Evangelical Christian brothers and sisters. Their teachings only scratches the surface. It lacks the depth and a profound understanding of Spirituality, Biblical dogma, and history.

As a believer of God, there are fundamentals that as a Christian I absolutely do not and cannot support – abortion, corruption, lies and all that is evil in this world. This can’t be whitewashed. Yes, it’s not for me to judge, and we are all sinners and fall short of God’s Glory. However, I do not and will not support the lies and hypocrisy that is blatantly put out there by a power hungry mainstream media and social media.

The story of the the Samaria woman by the well (John 4:1-42) in many ways mirror the problem of our world today. Both Jesus and the woman are marginalized by their respective communities, Jesus by the Jews and Pharisees, and the Samaria woman by her ethnic group.

Through her conversations with Jesus by the well, the Samaria woman is “awoken” to The Truth (Red-pilled). The Truth – Salvation is only possible through Jesus. He is the Messiah.

She is also “red pilled”- discovers that Jesus’ love is boundless – neither her status as a divorced woman, nor her ethnic/race, or social status is an obstacle to Gods love. Furthermore the woman was so touched by Jesus, she ran back and shared her new revelation to her people.

What does this story mean to me? Well, all narratives that creates division leads to animosity and chaos. “To divide is to conquer” Julius Caesar, Machiavelli, Napoleon, King Louis XI of France, and the British Empire all used a divide and conquer strategy. Leftish ideology also uses this guerrilla tactic.

As a Christian, I can’t take the middle ground and be complacent. I can’t sit on the fence and exist in ignorance. I have been “red-pilled”.

We live in a culture that is being pushed by the Left. This ideology is not on par with God’s Truth. Leftist (socialist and communist) ideology, eugenics, abortion, subjective truth, sexual immorality, gender identity, race identity, and corruption are not Gods way. Disagreements with this narrative mean – cancel culture.

We need be like the Samaria woman and be enthusiastic. Share the good news and the Truth. Like Jesus, stand up for all that is just, pure and sincere, and rebuke all that is dark and ungodly.

I want to stand up for Truth and for God!

I don’t want to be a part of the quick fix spiritual club. The Bible is more than feel good mantras.

Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. Ephesians 6:13-15 ESV

Believing in God – Active Trust in God

We are not sheep’s who cannot discern who our Master is.

Gods hand has been moving me to speak out and to be proactive. Pray for my nation. Pray for my world. Pray for humanity! Fight for Truth! He has moved me – a girl brought up in a Pentecostal family to “Pray the Rosary”. The Holy Spirit has moved me to pray with a pure heart and sincerity.

He has guided me to explore more deeply how our prayers are our Spiritual Weapon against all that is unclean and evil.

I dug up three crosses I had in storage and my husband put them up for me around the house. God is moving me to be silent no more!

This Crucifix survived a fire. I wanted to put up all these Crucifixes are a testament that I am no longer a silent Christian.

Pray to God!

He is waiting for our prayers!

Pray the Rosary!