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.

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 💖

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 💖

Mary, A Mother’s Love

A Mother’s panic

Many years ago, Mathieu was 5 years old, my husband and I took him to Indigo – a bookstore located in the heart of Montreal. I recall leaving him with my husband with specific instructions to keep an eye on him. They were browsing through magazines, and I thought that little Mathieu would have enough to occupy himself with.

I went to browse, and 30 minutes later, “Where is Mathieu?” Upon which my husband looked around hazily and responded, “I though he was with you!”

Oh boy did I bellow out, “Mathieu!”

The whole book store went silent for about 30 seconds – I swear you could have heard a pin drop (sorry for the pun here, but truly that’s how it felt like at the time). “How does he look like?” “How old is he?” Just as quickly after shouting out, “Five, Asian child….”, I heard the someone call out, “FOUND HIM!” “He is in the Children’s Book Department!” I recall my prayer of thankfulness for Mathieu’s safety.

I can almost understand the panic Mary and Joseph must have felt when they discovered Jesus was not among them, and rushed back to the city to find him – 3 days later. The anxiety that wells up in a mother’s heart upon discovering her child is missing is the fear and angst of all mothers. I can imagine the panic Mary must have felt.

A mother’s mission

Through prayer and in my journey towards the Catholic Faith, I feel a song in my heart. I also feel being moved to tell others of my love for Jesus. There is a desire for me to share this light and let it shine out – God’s Divine Mercy and love.  I have felt this calling in the past but was not ready to listen to Jesus.  Through prayer and mediating on His word, I have asked how he wants me to do this.  During praying the Rosary (about 4 weeks ago),  I saw an image during prayer of our Holy Mother.  The vision was short, but in my vision, she was sad, as if she was telling me that her sadness stems from many in our world who do not know or venerate her.  I wasn’t sure what to do with this vision, and I have been asking for the Holy Spirit to guide me. 

I am not a theologian, but I can share and give some insights into who Holy Mary is in my life. This is how I can contribute.

A mother’s help

This morning was one of those morning when I am awaken from a dream I can’t recall, but feeling alone and seriously down. It is one of those moments in my life when I wrestle with inner demons. I woke up washed with a tsunami of tears amidst a wall of insecurities – weighted down by the sins of my past. It is a flood gate of self doubt, and I am reminded of the torturous darkness of my soul. How can God love or even want someone like me to serve Him.

My usual tactics to get rid of Satan’s infiltration did not work this morning, and continued to mar my mind with an array of self deification. “You are wasting your time!” “Remember how peaceful your life use to be?” “You are wasting your time blogging.” “You are wasting your time writing” An endless steam of Satan’s bombardment attacked me all morning. Even praying became a battle ground, where Satan used my emotions to prevent me from praying. When I tried to pray, I was strangled with silence as a voice inside me echoed, “Why bother?” “What makes you think God is listening to you?”

“God, how have I displeased you?”

“Mother Mary, Father Joseph help me!” “St Michael, defend me!”

Yes, Satan is real, and he loves nothing more than to create and stir doubt within me. I had to ground myself in prayer, and believe me, that itself was hard today. Praying all of a sudden became a struggle between me and Satan. I felt the struggle. I turned on my Rosary apps from Divine Mercy, and couldn’t even utter the first few parts of the prayer…my tears fell, and I could not utter a word. I listened as I battled my inner demon, and only by the 3rd decade of the Rosary could I start to pray, “Hail Mary Full of Grace, the Lord is with Thee…”

A mother’s comfort

As fast as I was attacked by Satan’s lies and guiles, Mother Mary, along with Father Joseph, St. Michael and all the saints came to my aid – Satan ceased his attacks.

I am just as overwhelmed now as I write this. “Is this the kind of things one writes in a blog?” “Is this the kind of things I can talk about?” Why am I sharing this?

Our journey with God is not always a smooth path, at least not for me. I can say with a sincerity of heart – Satan will use every means to attack. Battle readiness is a must! I am thankful for our Holy Mother’s intervention, and St. Joseph’s help – he is after all the terror of demons. Just as St. Joseph saved the Holy family by taking them out to Egypt, he helps me battle the guiles of Satan.

My comfort is that I can call to Mother Mary (and St. Joseph, St. Michael and all the Saints) to intercede for me. It is not because Jesus does not hear my cries for help, He needs me to trust Him. He also needs me to be in total submission to His will. Just as He had to battle Satan for 40 days and night, I had to by faith accept HIs divine grace and mercy, and know that through His death on the cross for my sin, I am saved.

Made with Padlet

God Bless 💖

Holding Your Gaze

Photo by Chris Barker on Unsplash

You have loved me since the beginning of time.

From that moment you created me and kissed me, the fire of your spirit came into me.

It filled me and kept me warm and protected, and in the arms of my mother I laid.

You were never far, but gazed upon me with love from above your heavenly realm.

When I was a child, I thought as a child, and gazed at you and though how kind you seem. I was told you were the good shepherd. My friend you became.

I was ignorant and unaware of how Your wisp of fire burnt within me. It kept me safe throughout my childhood.

But as I grew older, you became a distance memory, of a character from a fairy tale of sort, of a kindly man who went out in search of His lost sheep.

So began my journey without, not of the ephemeral joys of childhood stories, but into the vast world around me. I yearned to experience – life!

Lived I will in the world of Sartre and Camus. That little flame within me started to diminish, barely lighting my path. You became a distance memory

Oh how my thoughtlessness must have grieved you. My idiom became the selfish call for subjective truth, as it is I alone who can determine my path or so I thought. I didn’t look back, but fell into the abyss of desire.

Truth, Truth, what is it but to know thine own self. Oh, how good it felt, until I realized I needed more.

Feeding the temporal desires of my body was like seeking a cure for an incurable disease. The more I filled myself and fanned my wants, the greater my need for it became. It threw me into a revolving door of more needs and wants.

It was always You, for you alone patiently waited for me. So many times, from the dark mire of my soul, you have called to me. I tuned you out!

My avariciousness for sexual desires darken my soul. I spiraled into self abasement and addiction to the flesh. Gluttonously satisfying an empty cup that seems to endlessly always need more to fill and feed the demons which took over my body and my spirit.

Jesus, you called my name, but I was too ashamed to lift up my head. I continued to run until I fell into the pit of endless obsession. Yet you never abandoned me, and continued to remind me of your love for me.

You, my dear friend never left me. You were quietly pulling me out of the desiccation that is me. Your hands blocking and casing out the debris around me. You were there to protect me from the rape of soul.

You lifted me out of the veniality of my soul. Your radiant divine mercy and love shrines upon my abyss. You reignited the dying flame within me.

You came down to me so that I can see for myself your love and sincerity. Gazing upon you, I feel the ominous nectar that has consumed me burn away. The light of your fire alighting my soul and reviving me to live again in Your presence. In your gaze, I saw Your love for me.

Holding your gaze, I can let go of myself. I have been liberated from my hate, and my bedeviled past. Gazing up onto the cross, I am forgiven. Holding Your gaze. I am reborn. Your breathe alights within my soul a fire.

Note: My Confession.

Thanks for reading,

God Bless 💖

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.