Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Mysteries of the Rosary: Hope


At the beginning of Lent 2019 I had hoped to write on my blog as much as I could.  My main computer promptly died and I had no access to a keyboard at home. Good intentions count for Lent right?  I am now typing on a loner iPad because God is good.

My reflections on this set of mysteries are a culmination of thoughts through prayer.  If you read these, may they bring you much fruit through prayer.



Hopeful Mysteries of the Rosary

First Mystery: The Road to Emmaus

“That very same day, two of them were on their way to a village called Emmaus, seven miles from Jerusalem, and they were talking together about all that had happened. Now as they talked this over, Jesus himself came up and walked by their side: but something prevented them from recognizing him.” LK 24: 13-16
“Now while he was with them at table, he took the bread and said the blessing: then he broke it and handed it to them.  And their eyes were opened and they recognized him; but he had vanished from their sight.” LK 24:30-31

Second Mystery: Appearance to the Disciples and Thomas

“In the evening of that same day, the first day of the week, the doors were closed in the room where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews. Jesus came and stood among them. He said to them, ‘Peace be with you’, and showed them his hands and his side.” JN 20:19-20
“The doors were closed, but Jesus came in and stood among them. ‘Peace be with you’ he said.  Then he spoke to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here; look, here are my hands. Give me your hand; put it into my side. Doubt no longer but believe.’ Thomas replied, ‘My Lord and my God!’ “ JN 20: 26-28

Third Mystery: Jesus Appears to Mary his Mother

We can most assuredly assume that Jesus Risen appeared to his mother.  As one conceived without sin in order to be the Theotokos, we can only imagine the embrace of love she felt at seeing him in her knowledge of great hope as well as the feeling of home within his arms.

Fourth Mystery: Appearance on the Shore

“It was light by now and there stood Jesus on the shore, though the disciples did not realize it was Jesus.” JN 21:4
“As soon as they came ashore they saw that there was some bread there, and a charcoal fire with fish cooking on it. Jesus said to them, ‘Come and have breakfast’. JN 21:9-12
“After the meal Jesus said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me more than these others do?’ He answered, ‘Yes Lord, you know I love you’. Jesus said to him, ‘Feed my lambs’. A second time he said to him , ‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’ He replied, ‘Yes, Lord, you know I love you’.  Jesus said to him, ‘Look after my sheep’.  Then he said to him a third time, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was upset that he asked him the third time, ‘Do you love me?’ And said, ‘Lord, you know everything; you know I love you’. Jesus said to him, ‘Feed my sheep.’ JN 21: 15-17

Fifth Mystery: Appearance to Saul and his Conversion

“Suddenly, while he was traveling to Damascus and just before he reached the city, there came a light from heaven all round him. He fell to the ground, and then he heard a voice saying, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?’
‘Who are you, Lord?’ He asked, and the voice answered, ‘I am Jesus, and you are persecuting me. Get up now and go into the city, and you will be told what you have to do.” ACTS 9:3-6

All quotes from the New Jerusalem Bible 1966 Doubleday & Company: New York

Sunday, March 10, 2019

The Great Small Acts of Kindness

My neighbor cut the grass in my yard while I was at work Friday.  I think he has one of those large mowers that do it really fast.  It would have been super great if he hadn't have scalped to the ground the mums and Mexican heather I had planted near my porch. 

The first thing I thought was a little anger and how it is exactly the thing my father has done to my mother's plants for 40 odd years.  It made me sad but I thought about it and writing my neighbor a note to thank him and ask that I cut my own yard next time. I hope it didn't come across as rude.  Honestly, I probably need the help as it's just me for all the work at my house.

My neighbor's act was a kindness and the scalping I needed to forgive.  This was such a good opportunity for me to live what the message was on Thursday I think... Luke 9:24 'Take up your cross and follow me."  Maybe not exactly what Jesus meant, but the idea was to find love in my heart over the anger and sadness I felt about such a trivial thing.

I am working on it!  In the mean time, I have been adding fertilizer to my little plants each day.  It will take some time, like all things worth it, but they may grow again.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Ash Wednesday 2019

The priest at noon mass today was the vibrant Irish type.  "I like the splatter method, and you can do what you will with that!"  He started to sing the the remembrance of ashes as he passed them out.  It helped the participants who did not regularly come to mass be at ease for sure.

I usually miss Ash Wednesday mass because I am always working, but this year I was able to attend.  As I mentioned, I am going to give it a go for lent 2019.

I started my Ash Wednesday with the rosary.  One of my favorite things to do is to offer my rosary for a Roman Catholic priest's renewal of love for the mercy of the Sacred Heart of Christ in the Eucharist.
from: The New St. Joseph Baltimore Catechism No. 2


Can you imagine the amazing things the Holy Spirit can do through a fervent Catholic priest?  I am lucky enough to have seen this often having grown up in a state like Louisiana where Catholicism is common.  Fervent priests do not raise themselves, they raise the whole community.

A website that is dedicated to prayer for priests is here: https://www.foundationforpriests.org/

Monday, March 4, 2019

Lent 2019

Happy Lundi Gras!  

History of Mardi Gras in Biloxi, Mississippi.

https://www.loc.gov/resource/g3984b.ct000659/?r=-0.327,-0.014,1.556,0.815,0

As I prepare for Lent 2019,  I am in a new city. 

Biloxi, MS labels itself as the first city to have official Mardi Gras celebrations in the United States.  Biloxi was once a part of the original land claimed by Rene-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle for the French monarchy of Louis XIV and Anna, naming all the land drained by the Mississippi River, La Louisiane.  The French Catholic tradition of one last party before a season of sacrifice was continued by new residents.  Historically, Mardi Gras celebrations were carried out by local groups of revelers who carried flambeaus through the streets and paraded as masked miscreants.  This tradition grew to include balls and floats as societies established themselves as official Mardi Gras associations.

Once the party is done, today recognized in New Orleans when the police horsemen ride down Bourbon Street, revelers turn in their boas and cocktails and head to church.  Having grown up so close to New Orleans I can not count how many times I've been to Bourbon Street.  The sense of revelry never seems to end there.  This type of atmosphere brings a seriousness to the sacrifice that Lent leads to.  Preparing for the Triduum of Easter is acknowledging that a divine man sacrificed for all eternity for the sake of men's souls.  The same souls that seek solace in overdoing it each year.

I don't understand the love of Jesus sacrificing on the cross very much but, this year my prayers will be in gratitude. My act will be to try to write about God's grace every day on this space.




Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Prayer for 2018

I wrote a prayer for 2018.  I want to post it here for my own sake, so I can look back at the great grace Jesus allows me to experience at times.  This one is not grand, but quite simple.  I long for healing and am so grateful for Christ's consolation in my hard times.

Jan 1, 2018
Prayer for 2018


Lord, from You comes all consolation.
Lord, from You comes all joy.
Lord, allow me to receive this consolation you
Have set aside for me.
Allow me to receive the joy you have created for me.
Guide me as I wait.
Grant me the grace I need to do Your will.
You are the Creator of the Heavens and the Earth.
Father God, Holy Spirit, Sacred Heart of Jesus,
Hear my prayer. Amen.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Consolation of Jesus

I have wanted to write about the consolation of Jesus for months now.  This draft has been sitting in my saved box for a while.  I don't think it can be described in one small reflection.  I can say that I cannot write well about it, because I have not sought healing for long enough in my prayers. 

If I could describe the consolation of Christ, I might describe it as the relationship of Christ married to the Body of the Church.  In both His divinity and humanity He has united himself to our failure and success in love and selflessness.  Jesus is master of both as he honors this great marriage and never forsakes it.  Therefore, as a believer, how do I go about the great task of consoling the Sacred Heart of Jesus when He consoles my own?

It's so laughable, impossible even to think of doing any good that would impact the gracious, merciful heart of such a God.  That is the flaw in my thinking though, because every act or movement toward love of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is just the act He longs for.

Consider a God that unlike all before, acts in total disregard for His pride and admiration.  In fact, with every act of Jesus, he gives some warning of the lack of faith that man will have in his divinity.  Christ leaves very few men and even fewer lowly women as His believers.  He then leaves not on a fiery chariot, but on a cross of utter devastation for those who had a smidgeon of belief.

In failure, we rise if we are ready.  One of my favorite meditations is on the road to Emmaus.  the disciples downtrodden and moving away from what lay behind.  Christ always walks among us.  He guides and leads and teaches in this small way of walking with those disciples on that road. 

After such trial and horror of the crucifixion, horror because a great, joyful hope of a long awaited savior has been seemingly crushed, here on a dirt road Jesus gently coaxes faith, hope and love into the hearts of men.

So what can I do to join in His sacrifice to bring more love into this great cacophony that is the world?  I think I can continue to look on my deeds and words for what I am bringing to the table. I would ask myself these questions: Is what I am doing fulfilling the vocation God wants for me?  Are the words I speak purposeful and loving and/or kind?  Am I contemplating the consolation that Christ offers and accepting that forgiveness as well?

As in the marriage of Christ to the Church, this Christian vow we take as we honor His sacrifice each Easter holiday, is a great call to glorify Christ and console His heart in our very act of loving others.


Monday, November 13, 2017

The Great Implosion of a Dream

    This summer my dream of becoming a chemical engineer died.  My dream of becoming any kind of engineer died.  Though I prayed for supernatural understanding, which I believed I received, I still couldn't think quick enough to pass the 50 minute tests that were given. 

    It seemed like a real crap shoot and honestly I'm still upset about it.  It's something I really cared about but it wasn't meant to be.  I gained math and chemistry credits which I am pleased with, but I wish I could have gone farther.  Most of the kids in college either do exceptional or take classes over and over.  I didn't think that was a wise thing to do at my age and with my temperament.

     I happened upon a fantastic job opportunity teaching math to elementary students.  I loved teaching math to 5th and 6th grade before.  Even though I did not intend to go back into teaching, the school is a diamond in the rough.  My greatest worry is that the children won't like me.  I had been teaching the rough sort of students for a long while.  I don't think people like me generally because they like to tell me often what I do wrong.  Even though I know I talk too much, or am overly friendly, at least I love people.

   So I had been feeling like an idiot for a long, long time because I couldn't seem to be successful even when I quit my job and spent all night studying.  Now I get to feel like an idiot and a failure for not being fast thinking enough to pass technical classes.  It's okay I guess.  I am hoping I am able to teach the children the critical thinking skills they need to be whatever they want when they grow up, whether they like me or not.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Our Lady of Sorrows


Our Lady of Sorrows references the sufferings of Mary the Mother of Jesus.  The sorrows are 1. The prophecy of Simeon 2. The Flight into Egypt 3. The Loss of Jesus in the Temple 4. The Meeting of Jesus and Mary on the Way to the Cross 5. The Crucifixion 6. The Taking Down of the Body of Jesus from the Cross 7. The Burial of Jesus

If you ever feel empty either from despair or doubt, pray the seven sorrows rosary and contemplate each of the mysteries.  Even though emptiness is difficult burden, Our Lady felt the sorrows greater than we can know.  Knowing her son was God, she wept and travelled both sorrowfully and with understanding that humanity needed a Savior Jesus Christ.

At the conclusion of each sorrow I pray that a fire of love would burn a space for more of Jesus in your heart and soul.  Consideration of Jesus Christ must be always first in your mind.  Christ can fill the empty parts of your soul, which in turn makes room for all those that He loves and desires you to love as well.  With love, will come healing.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

A Sense of Failure

The times that I experience or think about my failures are always preempted by a lack of prayer. I am the first to admit this because thankfully through prayer it has been revealed to me.  But I am human, therefore the wages of sin rear their ugly heads in the form of doubt, fear and sadness.

Some of my failures are very real, but maybe not as mountainous as they seem. Most times a fear of an assumed failure is only a subversion from God's divine plan. I was trying to describe the building up of prayer in one of my earlier posts, but I don't think I was able to express it.

Here is another go...When the fear or doubt weighs upon your mind and soul and sometimes the body as well, a buildup and continuous dose of prayer is the preparation and the remedy. Think on the way the human cell thrives. In a healthy body the cell will be able to combat and consume unhealthy cells.  This regeneration comes from the wellness of the original cell.  The same cell that has benefitted from the carrots and proteins and free radical consuming goodies you have eaten.

Think on prayer in the same way. It cannot be denied that memorized prayer, meditative prayer or a random discussion with God in all its forms, is a benefit to the body, mind , and soul.  Much less a greater love engendered by such a consideration of one who loves.

When the steady sense of failure or the actual failure occurs, there are two options. One is to dwell in fear and struggle to move forward.  The second is to bound with leaps as in a race from a leopard toward prayer.  The stores of prayer can then rush from the sylo as grains collected together to overcome all doubt and fear.  Imagine all of your small prayers as grains of rice or seed. So small, yet so powerful all together.  Imagine then, that in that moment of realization, you pour more rice upon what has already been stored to overtake completely the doubt.

Prayer does change you. Because your interactions with what and who are around you start to be centered on the good of God's plan. These days there are still times, almost daily, when I feel unwanted, not smart enough, not friendly enough or whatever.  I just go to prayer.  These ill thoughts are sometimes because I haven't considered God's love yet today because of tiredness or forgetfulness.  But my stores of grace lead me to pray and hope past the failures both big and small.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

The Great Silence

Robert Cardinal Sarah's book The Power of Silence is like stepping back in time and rereading the profound encyclicals of Pope Saint John Paul II.  Words describing the essence of silence include adverbial suffixes like imperceptibly and noiselessly. He says "Silence is not an absence." Thought 12

Turning common place ideas on their head is the work of Jesus Christ.  It is so simple a concept when we are in fact surrounded by grand mechanisms and machines of God the Creator that miraculously coexist to create in minutia in silence. What a clanging chorus of grace!

With only the above quote, I have already noted the abundant grace of Hope that may come from those words. The formation of answered prayers underlies silence. When we see a week or a years time as too long to wait for an answer from a God who formed the oceans over millions of years, silence is not absence.

We often say God is within us as we are made in His image. Our building blocks chemically change ingredients of life through mitochondrial machines weaving new DNA and cells. Silence still is not and absence.

How glorious that our God moves in a way counter to humanity's noisy intentions. Where there is silence, there is the ever constant glory of God.

Read The Power of Silence if you think you are ready. It will be a great blessing to you.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Comfort in the Rosary

Growing up, we had a small clock on the living room fireplace that had to be wound by hand on a regular basis.  I liked watching my dad wind it.  I liked the sound so much so that when I couldn't sleep, I would go to that room and the ticking would help me sleep on the couch nearby.

I like to have a ticking clock that I can listen to, to this day.  It is a symbol of time passing but also gives me a sense of comfort.
I often find the same comfort in the rosary. When I was younger we were not actively going to church, but the rosary was discussed in my household.  Both of my grandmother's prayed the rosary. One was Roman Catholic and the other High Episcopalian. I have often spoken here of how my mother encouraged me to ask 'Sweet Mary' for help with bad dreams and worries. I know the rosary comforted both of my grandmother's as they approached the end of their lives.

The rosary is very much like a ticking clock in the steady pace and regularity of the prayer itself.  For a prayer so simple, there is so much gained on the meditation of the mysteries of the rosary.  Insight given is truly a work of the Holy Ghost who allows as much grace as we need.

Sometimes I pray the rosary with intent for others, intent for myself or for the needs of souls.  Mostly I find myself praying in reparation and thanksgiving these days.  Even when all else fails, there is the rosary.  I think of the great saints who were quarantined off from others and how they had the rosary to pray.  I think of Pope Saint John Paul II who gave us the Luminous Mysteries and his encouragement to pray the mystery of all scripture.

The rosary is a small act that engenders so much grace to understand the will of God in our lives.  When in doubt, pray the rosary.  When in fear, pray the rosary.  When in sorrow, pray the rosary. When in need, pray the rosary.  I could go on as it has so many applications.  

Pray the rosary.  You don't have to be perfect at it.

http://www.usccb.org/prayer-and-worship/prayers-and-devotions/rosaries/how-to-pray-the-rosary.cfm

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Goalie for the Save, or Forming Your Conscience for the Goal


One of the most important things in life is to form the conscience. Building your conscience is like building a Great Wall against the turning tides and emotions of both your own humanity and the attacks of the devil.  The nitty gritty is in the preparation. 

Action can exist in words as an adjective or as a verb to describe what is happening. It's what we cannot see in the immediate action that requires a readiness of heart. Take the examples from scripture: "He wept." "She desperately moved close to Him to touch His robe."  Why did he weep? What had come before to lead him to weep? What made her think that touching His robe would help her? How had she survived so long with the ailment that caused her to seek Him out?

What is really cool, is that God knows your heart and desires above anything and anyone else.  When you seek to form your conscience, you most certainly will not have instant clarity. The intentions and desires of humankind are a great mystery to even those that are nearest to each other.  But those who know, understand that in time the fog will lift.  Usually, it lifts at just the right time.

So, what can make one man take one action and another in similar circumstances do a totally different thing?  Today's scripture is Matthew 13:24-43 'When the crop grew and bore fruit, the weeds appeared as well. '  This exemplifies that all manner of things can happen that are not your fault.  But notice the action of the farmer versus the servants.  The farmer chooses to act using his prior knowledge and forethought about the good crop.   The servants are ready to pull it up and throw it away.  Jesus goes on to describe that the farmer understands the detriment of pulling up the weeds too early.

It's kind of like soccer.  Each man on the field has a specific part to play.  They are all on the same field of play.  The goalie prepares his heart and mind to defend the goal.  The midfielder prepares his heart and mind to run, a lot. Very much, a lot of running.  This of course is the simplified explanation because if you know nothing about soccer, then you should know that the goalie is the only person allowed to catch the ball with his hands.  If the ball even grazes the hands of the midfielder then there is a penalty.  The midfielder must prepare to problem solve around moving the ball without his hands.  Each prepares their movements to coincide with the needs of their position.

What is our position in the game of life?  We must be prepared to spring forward and sometimes fall backward.  Both are a necessity because they will happen eventually.  If we can acknowledge the vast spiritual realm that plays a large part in our lives, then we can see the importance of preparing the conscience for good and bad circumstances.

One example is the practice of praying the rosary.  For one thing, just to memorize a prayer is a start.  But also to know the very act of remembering to speak the prayer you know when a trial comes upon you, is to speak to the heart of Christ who knows all of your needs.  You could even think of each Hail Mary prayed as a brick you have laid down in preparation for spiritual attack when it comes.


We all need this preparation.  From the nearest to the Word of God to the most desperate.  God is always calling us to be better so we can fulfill His will to help others be better.  Form your conscience the best you can and when in doubt ask a priest to help you.