Make Haste

As part of my St. Ignatius Spiritual Exercises (The Ignatian Adventure, Experiencing the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius in Daily Life, by Kevin O’Brien, SJ.), I have been praying and mediating on a “grateful awareness of the many ways in which God calls me”, and the past week, I have been reading, rereading, reflecting, and praying on Luke 5:1-11. The depth of it’s meaning came to light a few days ago – “God, how can I be a fisher of men? Moreover, I ask myself how can I serve You in our world today? Next week begins a new challenge – I won’t be able to attend Mass and the Holy Eucharist due to new government restrictions. I was feeling so down about it. How do I live in the new normal – a world of Covid-19 fears and now Omicron restrictions? How can I continue to be a disciple of Jesus?

Luke 5:10 reminds us:

Jesus always said to us, “And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; henceforth you will be catching men.”

I was greatly comforted by Luke’s reminder.

I have low immune system, and I am very careful, especially mindful of those around me, and isolate myself at the first signs of illness. Today, was one of those days, when I felt a migraine and under the weather. Being the last day I could attend Mass before new restrictions set in, I felt guilty and terrible that I did not go.

In the face of challenges, it is a miracle the way God’s hand is constant in my life. Not only did I feel uplifted and full of joy watching online mass this morning, but I felt renewed. Today’s lectionary reading Luke 1:39-45 touched me, and I was reflecting upon it since last night when I flipped open my Bible and read it while procrastinating rereading Luke 5: 1-11. God is ahead of me! God knows my worries.

See the source image
Carl Heinrich Bloch’s painting – The Meeting of Mary and Elizabeth

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.”

Three key words come to mind – “Mary set out and went with haste…”, the second is the power of the Holy Spirit in the bonding these two woman with inner and outer joy – “For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leaped for joy...”

I am reminded that in Jesus, there is joy. His birth into this world and walking among us is a testament of God’s eternal love and plan for us. Hence, no matter how many obstacles the world may throw my way that prevents me from going to Mass to worship, I can still praise and sing glory to my God, because I take the time today to keep the Sabbath Holy in my home – my place of refuge.

How to keep the sabbath holy

Making my home a sancturay for God

Making my home a refuge, and adorning it with objects that reminds me of the Blessed Family, God, Jesus, our Blessed Mother, and Father Joseph. Sanctified with Holy Water is also a good idea.

The point here is having a quiet place to spend time with God.

Spend time in prayer and read the day’s Mass reading

Daily reading from the Catholic Calendar is a special contemplation I do on top of my own personal Bible journey. Daily readings are centered around liturgical themes, and they help guide the believer into a better understanding of the Old and New Testament, as well as insights from all Saints, religious, and all who have gone before us. The following two sites are a great resource for daily Catholic readings:

The Morning Offering

Weekday Lectionary
Make a Spiritual Communion and Thanksgiving

I can’t make it to Mass for the Eucharist, and instead of getting stressed out about it, I watch the Mass online and make an act of spiritual communion and thanksgiving. God doesn’t want us ridden with anxiety and stressed out. Jesus loves us, and wants us to be near to Him and filled with inner joy.

watch the mass online or on tv

Here is a list of some of my favorite Catholic organizations:

EWTN

https://www.ewtn.com/

The Divine Mercy

https://www.thedivinemercy.org/

Bishop Barron (Word on Fire)

https://www.youtube.com/user/wordonfirevideo

Father Mike Schmitz and Ascension Presents

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCVdGX3N-WIJ5nUvklBTNhAw

rest and reflection

Remember God rested on the 7th day. Enjoy a day of stillness, rest and reflection on God’s day.

In all things, remember to give thanks

Make the day beautiful, peaceful, and joyful. I like to spend part of God’s day smiling and thinking of how wonderful my God is, and am thankful for His hands in my life and the lives of those around me. I love to listen to music of praise and worship on God’s day of rest. Just as I am sitting here sharing with each one of you my love for our Immortal God. Jesus, I trust in you❤️

I love to listen to the Virgil Project:

May the hand of God hold each of you in His warm and protective embrace, and know that as long as we focus our attention on Him, we do not need to feel fear! God is faithful, and knows our hearts more than we do. Let each of us take the time to pray on a greater awareness of the many ways in which God calls each and every one of us.

God Bless 💖

A Light In My Path

“Come to this light, the light of Christ…”

My soul rejoices and I am overwhelmed with a sense of inner peace reading todays Lectionary. The readings flow and enlightens my mind and soul. Especially beautiful today is the proclamation in the Old Testament of the the arrival of our blessed light coming into the world, and in the New Testament, it tells us of Joseph’s thoughts as well as how his trust in God, lead to his hand in helping usher the light into our broken world.

Jesus’ birth is the light entering a dark and tumultuous world under Roman oppression. Today, Jesus lights our path in an era of cancel culture, government restrictions, and medical tyranny. Christmas has been cancelled by political correctness, and replaced with commercialism and secularism – “Happy Holidays”.

Old Testament Jeremiah 23:5-8  

    Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD,
        when I will raise up a righteous shoot to David;
    As king he shall reign and govern wisely,
        he shall do what is just and right in the land.
    In his days Judah shall be saved,
        Israel shall dwell in security.
    This is the name they give him:
        “The LORD our justice.”

Therefore, the days will come, says the LORD,
when they shall no longer say, “As the LORD lives,
who brought the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt”;

but rather, “As the LORD lives,
who brought the descendants of the house of Israel
up from the land of the north”– 

and from all the lands to which I banished them;
they shall again live on their own land.

Gospel matthew 1:18-25 

This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about. 
When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph,
but before they lived together,

she was found with child through the Holy Spirit. 
Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man,
yet unwilling to expose her to shame,

decided to divorce her quietly. 
Such was his intention when, behold,
the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, 
“Joseph, son of David,

do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. 
For it is through the Holy Spirit
that this child has been conceived in her. 
She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus,
because he will save his people from their sins.” 
All this took place to fulfill

what the Lord had said through the prophet:

    Behold, the virgin shall be with child and bear a son,
        and they shall name him Emmanuel,

which means “God is with us.” 
When Joseph awoke,

he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him
and took his wife into his home. 
He had no relations with her until she bore a son,
and he named him Jesus.

There is hope! No matter how dark it feel, the light of baby Jesus repairs our brokenness. It reunites us with God. Today’s reading touches a core within me especially as the Year of St. Joseph comes to an end. It gives me the hope that God has everything under control. Just as God used St. Joseph to protect Mary and baby Jesus, I know God is with us.

St. Joseph makes me think of God’s steadfast hand in our lives, and His loyalty knows no end. To those of us who put Him above all things, God is ever present. So regardless of the circumstances my family and I may face during this crazy time in our lives, God is with us.

Jesus is the light of my world. If I let it, it will shine in me and through me.

Let the light of Jesus shine in YOU! Let all OUR light, light a path in our darken world.

God Bless 💖

Happy Anniversary!

Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Gospel Luke 1:26-38

The angel Gabriel was sent from God
to a town of Galilee called Nazareth,
to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph,
of the house of David,
and the virgin’s name was Mary.
And coming to her, he said,
“Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you.”
But she was greatly troubled at what was said
and pondered what sort of greeting this might be.
Then the angel said to her,
“Do not be afraid, Mary,
for you have found favor with God.
Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son,
and you shall name him Jesus.
He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High,
and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father,
and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever,
and of his Kingdom there will be no end.”
But Mary said to the angel,
“How can this be,
since I have no relations with a man?”
And the angel said to her in reply,
“The Holy Spirit will come upon you,
and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.
Therefore the child to be born
will be called holy, the Son of God.
And behold, Elizabeth, your relative,
has also conceived a son in her old age,
and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren;
for nothing will be impossible for God.”
Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.
May it be done to me according to your word.”
Then the angel departed from her.

Mary’s “yes” always moves me and leads me to ponder over my “yes” to God. I always ask myself what “yes” have I said to God. I recall a time when I would ignore Gods call. I also recall a time when I told Him I was not ready. Throughout my “no” and “not yet”, God was always patient and faithful. When I finally said “yes”, the power of the Holy Spirit filled me with inner joy, peace and love – so that no matter what life challenges I face, Jesus gives me the strength to endure all.

Let us ponder on the “yes” we say to God. Let us rejoice on how our “yes” has lead to transformations within our own lives.

God Bless 🌹

For Each Year of My Life

green ceramic mug beside book
Aaron Burden on https://unsplash.com/photos/4eWwSxaDhe4

Each day since November 7th, I have put aside 20 minutes each morning to pray the Divine Mercy Prayer for each year of my life. I am only at the 23th year of my life, I have many more days to go before I complete this. I must say that since I have started to pray this prayer for each year since my birth, I am filled with peace and healing. God’s amazing grace has helped me recall long forgotten and unsavory memories of unconfessed sins. Each sin remembered and forgiven is a testament of God’s divine mercy and love.

I have just completed praying for those long forgotten turbulent and rebellious teenage years to my mid 20s where the secular world was much more appealing then God. Through this process, I have greater insights into who I am, as well as an insight into how and why I was lead astray. There is insights into how one evil seed planted snowballed into greater sins which eventually lead me down a dark path. The gravity of my sin left God on the sidelines. I can imagine how sadden and grieved Jesus was as I recalled how hurt and angry my own parents were.

Jesus being the Good Shepherd,

23:4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Psalm 23

Praying the Divine Mercy prayer gave me a chance to heal from the pain I caused not only to my own body, soul, mind, and the pain I caused to those around me.

Thank you God, for your love for us, and for Your Divine mercy and forgiveness.

Chaplet of Divine Mercy in Song

Below is a homily by Fr. Anthony, MIC. He gives an insightful teaching on the importance of praying for souls in purgatory, but also for each year of our lives.

Praying for Souls in Purgatory and Each Year of Our Lives

As I prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus and His return, I want to meet my groom free of all sinful stains upon my soul.

When I was praying the Divine Mercy Prayer earlier today, I felt the prompting of the Holy Spirit to share this with all of my readers. May each of you find peace and healing in Jesus!

God Bless 💖

It’s All About Love

John 3:16

To believe in God is to know love.

If we believe and know God, then we are privileged to the simple truth that, God loved us so much that he gave us His beloved son – Jesus – to die on the cross for us. With faith, we know that through His sacrifice we are redeemed from the sins inflicted upon humanity by our first parents (Adam and Eve). Through faith and hope, we can look forward to a new life and eternal life with God.

To believe is to know our journey has just began.

God’s love changes everything for us. It changes our inside, and in turn this changes our outside. Believing that Jesus died for you and me – we are united. Through faith, we are brothers and sisters – the children of God.

There is nothing I want more than to shout out and rejoice in the love of God the Father. Every day and every hour, Jesus guides you and me, to the heart of the Father.

In our secular world, you and I may stand alone, but we are united in spirit with other Christians world wide. We stand strong against all the secular agendas that blow our way creating an environment of division, uncertainty and fear. Through the secular forces of this world: cancel culture, political correctness, identity politics, gender politics, LGBT, global warming, abortion, health (Covid-19), class and economic politics reign and the raise of socialist and communist agendas, these all points towards us like sharp blades, poking and shearing away from you and me the truth that is only found in Jesus. It’s goal is to divide, and creates an atmosphere fear and doubt. They divert our attention away from God.

We know these are the works of Satan. To believe is to know we are all equal and children of God. In the end, it is our belief that Jesus died on the cross for each of us, that unites us.

The question is do we believe or not?

Let us be united in Faith, Hope and Charity – LOVE.

God Bless 💖

For The Souls Who Have Gone Before Me

Image of a fiery purgatory by Ludovico Carracci

As November has been traditionally the month to offer sufferages for all THE FAITHFUL DEPARTED AND HOLY SOULS IN PURGATORY, I thought about the many souls who are alone and with whom no prayers have been offered.

To remember the souls who have gone before us is one of the beautiful traditions in Chinese culture (Ancestral Worship had it’s roots in Buddhism, but has evolved over time into a veneration and respect for ancestors who have passed away, thereby keeping the family tree alive). It represents a respect for our ancestors, their heritage, their unique social and cultural identity. The Catholic tradition of praying for souls – that is offering intercessory prayer on behalf of someone who has gone before us. Praying for souls lesson the the time required for the purification. The temporal punishment left by stains on the souls – that is sins – which have been forgiven in the Sacrament of Confession, is shortened through our prayers.

Because of the communion of saints, the faithful who are still pilgrims on earth are able to help the souls in purgatory by offering PRAYERS in suffrage for them, especially the EUCHARISTIC SACRIFICE. They also help them by almsgiving, INDULGENCES*, and works of penance.” (Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, n.211)

My own thoughts drifted towards all of my ancestors who did not know Jesus. Who most likely were Buddhist or practiced Confucianism. What becomes of their souls? What about the millions of souls who died tragically? What about souls who have no one to pray for them. So many forgotten souls! I especially thought of my grandfather who lived in a town far away from the early missionaries in China. His death was a tragic one. At the age of 25, he along with all his male clansmen (between the ages of 20 to 30) were executed by the occupying Japanese forces during World War 2. Their deaths represented one of the many unspoken tragedies and causalities of the Second World War. Their stories have long been forgotten and buried in the past. I was moved by my grandfathers story, and it was the first time my mother talked about his death. She was a young girl at the time, and lived through the tumultuous cruelty of World War 2 – she suppressed the sadness. She herself only came to know Jesus Christ after she immigrated to Canada as a young bride in the late 50s.

I was very touched by her conversion story, but deeply sadden by the fact that my grandfather and those who died alongside him did not know Jesus, nor His Divine Mercy. The only thing I can do is remember them in prayer, especially during this month -as I Pray for the Dead.

I started praying the Saint Gertrude prayer for souls. I pray for the salvation of those who have gone before me, especially those who never heard of Jesus, and who never knew of God’s Divine love for humanity. There is an inner joy in praying for 1000 souls, and I sing within my heart and rejoice in the greatness of my God. I envision the loving embrace of God as He receives the 1000 into his immortal arms.

God Bless 💖

FINDING GOD IN ALL THINGS

Since the summer (2021), I have been on a journey of discovering God in all things. With the help of a Spiritual Director from the Jesuit – St. Ignatian Spirituality.

It has been a journey of discovering a “stronger me in my own existence”, to asking for the graces of faith, hope, and charity, along with a deeper intimacy with God through daily Bible scripture, prayer and journal writing.

I reached a point in my faith journey where I felt the need for deeper spiritual guidance. I was not sure where to start. I asked the Deacon of my Parish, who in turn directed me to St. Ignatian Spirituality. The online information my Deacon provided me, opened up a whole new approach in my faith journey that is tailored to “Me”. More importantly, I have the mindful ear of a Spiritual Director.

See the source image
St. Ignatius of Loyola – the soldier

A former soldier who was severely wounded and bedridden for many months, St. Ignatius of Loyola spent many months in quiet contemplation and meditation of Biblical scriptures. During his convalescence, St. Ignatius developed spiritual exercises which is used today for those seeking a deeper spiritual journey with Christ. Below, I have included links to some online resources for further research:

The videos included in the above link offers a wealth of resources in understanding the basics of how to discern, and view my life through Ignatian lens. It also guided me to pray for a stronger me in my own existence.

Working with an Ignatian Spiritual Director is God’s way of leading me to draw nearer to Him and to live a Christ filled life.

💖

RESOURCES:
JESUITS
IGNATIAN SPIRITUALITY

Although there are free copies of the St. Ignatius Spiritual Exercises online, I personally think that working with a Spiritual Director is enriching my personal journey with God through her mindful weekly sessions with me.

I suggest using the link below, or a google search for your local St. Ignatius Spiritual Center or Jesuit center.

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.