Freedom Is Only From God

2 Corinthians 2:17

True freedom is trusting and walking with God. I won’t delve deeply into the theology of freedom, but after watching all the protest world wide, and the theme was seeking freedom from restrictive mandates, I meditated the last 2 days and asked myself, “What is freedom?” “What does freedom mean to me – a Catholic.”

Seeking freedom can only be found in God. I know it’s a profound statement to make in our world today. The concepts of freedom and truth has been tainted with modernism, and secularized. Truth and freedom is defined in our world today as – me, his, her, and, them. The focus is on the self. God is not in the centre. God is not the focus. It is missing God!

In the Catechism of the Catholic Church, it is a choice to do good (referencing Romans 6:17)

The more one does what is good, the freer one becomes. There is no true freedom except in the service of what is good and just. The choice to disobey and do evil is an abuse of freedom and leads to “the slavery of sin”. (CCC#1733)

From the Old Testament to the New Testament, freedom and truth has been only through faith and trust in God:

The Prophet Isaiah talked about freedom saying, “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound” (Isaiah 61:1).

King David said in Psalm 118:5, Out of my distress I called on the Lord; the Lord answered me and set me free.”

It is through God’s divine mercy we are set free – through His beloved son, Jesus:

“So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” They answered him, “We are offspring of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone. How is it that you say, ‘You will become free’?” Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” John 8:31-36.

Cardinal John Henry Newman got it right:

Lead Kindly Light

Lead, Kindly Light, amidst th’encircling gloom,
Lead Thou me on!
The night is dark, and I am far from home,
Lead Thou me on!
Keep Thou my feet; I do not ask to see
The distant scene; one step enough for me.

I was not ever thus, nor prayed that Thou
Shouldst lead me on;
I loved to choose and see my path; but now
Lead Thou me on!
I loved the garish day, and, spite of fears,
Pride ruled my will. Remember not past years!

Cardinal John Henry Newman
Cardinal John Henry Newman (1801-1890)

So long Thy power hath blest me, sure it still
Will lead me on.
O’er moor and fen, o’er crag and torrent, till
The night is gone,
And with the morn those angel faces smile,
Which I have loved long since, and lost awhile!

Meantime, along the narrow rugged path,
Thyself hast trod,
Lead, Saviour, lead me home in childlike faith,
Home to my God.
To rest forever after earthly strife
In the calm light of everlasting life.

May each of us find true freedom.

God Bless💖

Jordan Peterson’s Incredible Journey to God

I first came across Jordan Peterson’s writing and work when I read “12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos“. At the time I remember sharing this book with my teenage son and his friend – wanting them to put into practice 12 wise and profound rules for life (my personal favorite rule was “Make Your Bed!”

At the time, I recall he was an atheist.

His recent video moved me to tears and joy, as he discusses intimately and sincerely his journey to God. I was moved! It hits at the heart of our own journey to God, especially those of us who have sought God through the world of intelligentsia, and academia.

I recall a time in my journey when I looked deeply within all “isms” seeking a knowledge that I later realized I will never know because ultimately knowing GOD is beyond the scope of my human understanding. It exists out there – eternal and beyond our reach. We can only understand him within our human grasp of understanding through faith, hope and charity/love, and, ultimately through Jesus.

Jordan Peterson’s journey echo’s many of the moral load we experience, carry, and think of, but have not articulated. Instead this psychological burden is held silently in our heart. Peterson’s self realization is a testament to the Holy Spirit moving in him.

The journey to God, is something that many disenfranchised has sought after finding the emptiness in all the “isms”. We are in an age where the temporal satisfaction is short lived, leaving a gapping empty hole. Hope, is something that is slowly being crushed by the chaos around us. To watch the rise of Jordan Peterson on social media platforms and through his writing, it is gripping to see God’s hand in his life as he shares his story.

With Bishop Barron:

Bishop Barron on the Jordan Peterson Phenomenon:

As children of God, we are called to help our Heavenly Father and participate with Him in lending a hand in shedding light into the world in courage, trust, truth and love…even unto our enemies:

God Bless and may our journey to God be a testament for all 💖.

Why Pray, AND, Prayer To Our Lady of Lourdes

I know I have been posting many prayers lately, and it comes from a sincere desire to share with all – prayers that I pray. Prayers have been very healing for my soul, especially in light of all the craziness the past few years have ushered in with government restrictions and mandates. Not only have they been very healing, prayer has also changed “me”! Prayer allows me to draw closer to God. It is my intimate conversation with Him – sometimes full of praise and joy, at others times full of complains and sad moans (crying), and at others, full of adoration and love.

These days, I am also praying for God’s light to shine into the world, even in the darkest of cervices. To be an active participant with Him, and He with me.

God needs our help!

God wants to be an active participant in our lives, to guide us to make changes in our own lives and in the world. Our prayers can lead to God’s Divine Mercy moving on those around us, and, our prayers lifted up in sincerity can lead to healing in not only ourselves, but in others – those we love, friends, and strangers.

Father Mike’s short message inspired me today. Oh the more! This morning, I got out of bed late (hmm, I was a sloth and stayed in bed for another hour), and rushed my morning prayer. Urgh, yes, a confession of my soul!


The Feast Day for Our Lady of Lourdes

The Feast Day for Our Lady of Lourdes is on February 11th, 2022. “On Feb. 11, the Catholic Church celebrates the liturgical memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes, recalling a series of 18 appearances that the Blessed Virgin Mary made to a 14-year-old French peasant girl, Saint Bernadette Soubirous”. For more information on St. Bernadette and the History of Our Lady of Lourdes: https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/saint/our-lady-of-lourdes-144.

At https://www.thedivinemercy.org/articles/our-lady-lourdes-pray-us you can also send in your prayer intentions (I am sorry it started yesterday Feb. 2-10), but you can still participate and add an extra day.

Here is the Prayer to Our Lady of Lourdes:

God Bless, and keep praying! 💖

Hope and Faith

Since the closure of all churches in Quebec (Canada) since Christmas, I have no other choice but to celebrate my faith via the internet or zoom. Tuning in for daily Mass and making an Act of Spiritual Communion and Thanksgiving within the confines of my home has started to take its toll on me. I miss going to Mass! I miss being in God’s Home.

I find myself having self talk dissertations with God about the craziness we find ourselves in, and asking if the Hybrid (in person/internet) the future of worship? Is this the new normal? What happens if there is a blackout? Has anyone ever thought about what would happen if there was a world wide cyber outage?

I think back to Jesus, His apostles and the beginnings of the early Christian church, from small in home gatherings to the feeding of 5000. It is about community, socialization, communication, and it also is about being present – it is about one another – people. I thought about organizing in home worship, but in Quebec, the restrictions limit the numbers of “bubbles” allowed. Not only that, but most are living in fear – of catching Covid, or one of it’s variant. People have become afraid of getting together.

Fear!

Urgh!

So I sit here and muse about the early church, and feel a sense of sadness, as I reflect on what I miss most about being in God’s house. I miss seeing the faces I always see during the week – mostly the elderly, along with young mothers. I miss the occasional crying of a child in the background. I miss walking through the church and taking some time in each area – the Divine Mercy statue, pictures of past popes, the stations of the cross, and saying a silent prayer after I light a candle. I miss greeting members of the congregation, “How are you?”

I miss standing before the altar and kneeling – giving thanks to God. I miss adorating the true presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. I miss watching the candles flicker on the altar, and I miss being in awe.

No virtual mass can replace the feeling of Holiness in God’s house. No virtual mass can replace the feel of the Holy Spirit moving through the congregation. No online service can reproduce the tactile feel of receiving the body of Jesus. I miss gnawing and chewing the Holy Host and saying to myself, “You are mine, and I am Yours”.

We are part of the family of God, and being present in Mass is very much about love for one another, community, along with all the dynamics of social interaction. I pray for an end to forced isolation and vaccine passports. I pray for the right of each Christian to some way, somehow, connect again socially – not by zoom, or via online mass, or chat boxes, but in person so that we can lift up our praise, adoration and love of Jesus and worship him as a family.

I hold on to the belief that we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, and, whose death on the cross as given us the way to the Father. So the little struggles I have now of being isolated from my family in Christ, is making me stronger (Romans 5:1-11):

Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand; and we[c] boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God. And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.

For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. Indeed, rarely will anyone die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person someone might actually dare to die. But God proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us. Much more surely then, now that we have been justified by his blood, will we be saved through him from the wrath of God. 10 For if while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, much more surely, having been reconciled, will we be saved by his life. 11 But more than that, we even boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

Let us remain strong in Jesus. I know that it has been hard for many around the world who are experiencing the same lockdowns and restrictions. I also know many are suffering emotionally, mentally, socially and financially. Let us give our suffering to Jesus, for that little pain is nothing compared to the suffering our beloved Jesus went through when He died for me and you.

Let us lift our voices, and ask God to ensure that each of us is provided for – that our daily bread is met.

God Bless 💖

Why Pray The Lord’s Prayer?

I recall reminding my 15 year old to pray before bed, and her response to me, “Mom, I don’t pray. I talk to God!” Out of the mouth of a teenager!

Prayer is one of the most important aspect in our relationship with God, it is our direct channel to him as we bring to him all our adoration, love, not to mention all our stresses, worries, queries, hopes, and angst. Prayer is also offering our intentions and healing for others.

Prayer comes in many forms, and talking to God is indeed how we develop a deeper relationship with Him. This poem by Mary Oliver wonderfully expresses it:

Praying

It doesn’t have to be

the blue iris, it could be

weeds in a vacant lot, or a few

small stones; just

pay attention, then patch

a few words together and don’t try

to make them elaborate, this isn’t

a contest but a doorway

into thanks, and a silence in which

another voice may speak.

– Mary Oliver, Thirst: Poems by Mary Oliver

From formal to free flow prayers with God, the one prayer I always say either on it’s own, or with my daily structured prayer time is “The Lord’s Prayer”. This prayer is also incorporated in the Daily Rosary and most chaplets. It is also a prayer said in every mass worldwide. I love this prayer! I remember learning this prayer in Sunday School, and recall also saying this prayer in elementary school at a time when it was permissible by our school board and government.

Concerning Prayer

Matthew 6:5-15

‘And whenever you pray, do not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, so that they may be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.[a]

‘When you are praying, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

‘Pray then in this way:

Our Father in heaven,
    hallowed be your name.
10     Your kingdom come.
    Your will be done,
        on earth as it is in heaven.
11     Give us this day our daily bread.[b]
12     And forgive us our debts,
        as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13     And do not bring us to the time of trial,[c]
        but rescue us from the evil one.[d]

14 For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you; 15 but if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

The Lord’s Prayer is what Jesus taught his disciples, and it is a complete prayer:

Adoration

Intercession

Thanksgiving

Repentance

Petition.

Image is a screenshot from:

Let’s lift up all our voices to God. Like a symphony of heart felt prayers flowing up in the stratosphere to God’s ears.

God Bless 💖

The door of the manger is always open

Borrowing a phase coined by the Archbishop of Montreal, Most Reverend Christian Lépine, “The door to the manger is always open”, I wish to greet all with a joyous and “Happy Christmas Eve”.

Let us unite together from all across our globe and rejoice with a melody in our heart as we let the light of the Bethlehem star warm our hearts with faith, hope and love .

As in a time in antiquity when three wise men journeyed afar to meet Baby Jesus, and as Shepard minding their fields heard the joyful proclamation by the choral of angels – let us welcome our Saviour into the world with joy and thanksgiving.

Luke 1:10 – 14

But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: 11 to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.”

13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying, 14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors!”

As Archbishop Christian Lépine of Montreal reminds us,

Through this pandemic, let us always keep the door of our heart open, constantly keeping a look of kindness, inspired by the look of goodness that the child Jesus has for us,”

Archbishop Christian Lépine of Montreal

Let us start our day with a a prayer of thanksgiving, a smile and an inner glow within and without, as well as a spirit filled song in our hearts.

From Christmas Novena Prayer

The Birth Of Jesus In The Stable Of Bethlehem (Ninth Day)

O Adorable Infant Jesus! I should not have the boldness to cast myself at Your feet if I did not know that You Yourself invites me to draw near You.

It is I who by my sins have made You shed so many tears in the stable of Bethlehem. But since You have come on earth to pardon repentant sinners, forgive me also, now that I am heartily sorry for having spurned You, my Savior and my God, who are so good and who has loved me so much.

In this night, in which You bestowest great graces on so many souls, grant Your heavenly consolation to this poor soul of mine also.

All that I ask of You is the grace to love You always, from this day forward, with all my heart. Set me all on fire with Your holy love. I love You, O my God, who has become a Babe for love of me. Never let me cease from loving You evermore.

O Mary, Mother of Jesus and my Mother, You can obtain everything from Your Son by Your prayers. This is the only favor I ask of You. Do You pray to Jesus for me. Amen.”

God Bless 💖

The Greatest Gift

Luke 1.39-45

Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth.

When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and exclaimed with a loud cry:

“Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me? For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.”

I love reading and rereading the Gospel of Luke as we head into Christmas. There is much joy resounding from these passages. The birth of Jesus is our greatest gift from God. As I meditate on the union of Mother Mary and Elizabeth, I think about their Spirit filled inner joy and blessings from our Almighty God. It also brings to mind all the blessings and gifts from God in my life. I may not always recognize God’s blessing amidst the din in my busy life. It is often when I take the time during the end of the evening when I do my Daily Examen that I see the beauty of God’s hand in my life.

St. Ignatius Daily Examen

I would like to invite all of you to think about the beauty of God’s hand and gift in your life. How can we give back to God? How can we be like Jesus? Sometimes, all it takes is a smile. Praying for those around us – our family, friends, to the sick. Praying for the homeless, those we don’t know in need, and for souls in purgatory. At other times, it is leading a hand to those around us. It may be helping our neighbors, or volunteering. I found today’s homily by Fr. Anthony inspiring – casting our eyes not upon ourselves, but upon another with love and the joy of giving:

God Bless 💖Let us step outside of our comfort zone and give our gift of Jesus to another.

The Whole World Awaits Mary’s Reply

Rejoice! Rejoice! My heart rejoices at Mary’s “YES”!

Mary’s “YES” Luke 1:26-38

As I reflect on my little “yes” to God, there is a wonderful homily written by Saint Bernard of Clairvaux hundred’s of year ago that reflected on the importance of Mary’s “YES”, and it has such insight, I share it below:

The Whole World Awaits Mary’s Reply On the Annunciation and Mary’s “fiat”
Saint Bernard of Clairvaux

This homily excerpt of St. Bernard is in the Office of Readings for
December 20, the fourth week of Advent.

 

You have heard, O Virgin, that you will conceive and bear a son; you have heard that it will not be by man but by the Holy Spirit. The angel awaits an answer; it is time for him to return to God who sent him. We too are waiting, O Lady, for your word of compassion; the sentence of condemnation weighs heavily upon us.

The price of our salvation is offered to you. We shall be set free at once if you consent. In the eternal Word of God we all came to be, and behold, we die. In your brief response we are to be remade in order to be recalled to life.

Tearful Adam with his sorrowing family begs this of you, O loving Virgin, in their exile from Paradise. Abraham begs it, David begs it. All the other holy patriarchs, your ancestors, ask it of you, as they dwell in the country of the shadow of death. This is what the whole earth waits for, prostrate at your feet. It is right in doing so, for on your word depends comfort for the wretched, ransom for the captive, freedom for the condemned, indeed, salvation for all the sons of Adam, the whole of your race.

Answer quickly, O Virgin. Reply in haste to the angel, or rather through the angel to the Lord. Answer with a word, receive the Word of God. Speak your own word, conceive the divine Word. Breathe a passing word, embrace the eternal Word.

Why do you delay, why are you afraid? Believe, give praise, and receive. Let humility be bold, let modesty be confident. This is no time for virginal simplicity to forget prudence. In this matter alone, O prudent Virgin, do not fear to be presumptuous. Though modest silence is pleasing, dutiful speech is now more necessary. Open your heart to faith, O blessed Virgin, your lips to praise, your womb to the Creator. See, the desired of all nations is at your door, knocking to enter. If he should pass by because of your delay, in sorrow you would begin to seek him afresh, the One whom your soul loves. Arise, hasten, open. Arise in faith, hasten in devotion, open in praise and thanksgiving. Behold the handmaid of the Lord, she says, be it done to me according to your word.
 

Hom. 4, 8-9: Opera omnia, Edit. Cisterc. 4 [1966], 53-54

My Little “yes”!

I ask myself, have I said “yes” to God? “Can I really do that? Often doubt and fear clouds my judgement, and that’s when I need God to help me over come my insecurities. Last week, I almost said no to helping drive food baskets to the needy in my parish, but at the last minute, I said, “Yes!”. My hesitancy was fear – of meeting people I didn’t know. God gave me a chance to say, “yes”, and it was one of the most humbling and happy thing I could have done. There was a joy in sharing with those in need the love of Jesus, and giving a helping hand. As I knocked on doors, God opened my heart to see His people, and to give them much needed food so that they may have a Merry Christmas.

Let each of us reflect on our “YES” to our Almighty God.

God Bless 💖