Sunday, October 06, 2019

Seasons

"All things have their season, 
and in their times all things pass under heaven.  
A time to be born and a time to die. 
A time to plant, and a time to pluck up 
that which is planted. 
A time to kill, and a time to heal. 
A time to destroy, and a time to build. 
A time to weep, and a time to laugh. 
A time to mourn, and a time to dance.  
A time to scatter stones, and a time to gather. 
A time to embrace, and a time to be far from embraces. 
 A time to get, and a time to lose. 
A time to keep, and a time to cast away. 
A time to rend, and a time to sew.
 A time to keep silence, and a time to speak. 
A time of love, and a time of hatred. 
A time of war, and a time of peace"
from the Book of Eccleseiates
Douay Rheims Roman Catholic Bible

Sunday, September 01, 2019

Imitating God's Love

     Our Heavenly Father's love for us infinitely surpasses any human comprehension. As parents, loving our children is and always will be our unifying priority. Our children are a singular Divine gift. In this role, we are blessed with the sublime obligation to imitate His love for us.
     Awaiting the results of our daughter's medical procedure zapped everything into perspective. The monumental significance of our being with her, united, and peacefully caring for her, undeniably radiated from her countenance. Our God given responsibility to love and protect our children can only be measured in Heavenly terms. Whatever pursuits have captured our attention during this life's journey, we are first and foremost our children's parents. This will never change. 
         God's love letter to us commands us to forgive, love and pray for one another. We are assured by our Almighty Father of the power of intercessory prayer and angelic protection. As Christians, we firmly believe in the eternity of our souls. 
       As events unfolded, beloved and "mommy"  prayer warriors were contacted. Holy men and women of God, deceased family members included, were implored for their intercession. 
        Atheists and nay sayers be cautioned: the supernatural presence of Jesus, Mary and all the angels and saints was intensely tangible throughout this familial crisis. At each moment, no minute detail was untouched by the indefatigable direction of the Holy Spirit as he supernaturally orchestrated every thought, word and action. Catastrophic imaginings and hours of waiting mystically dissolved into gentle seas of grace filled, trusting, gratitude, as hearts were lifted up in tranquil, obedient worship and prayer. Blessed be the Holy Name of Jesus forever!
      I recently met an amazingly holy woman. She told me that she was so grateful to God that her children's needs continually drew her heart more intimately into the Sacred Heart of Jesus through adoration and prayer. 
May our most ardent prayer be 
to peacefully and entirely accept and conform ourselves 
to the Will of our Almighty God. 
May all that Our Father sends us, draw our souls safely 
into His eternal embrace! 
The outcome of all spiritual tests belongs to God. 
God is love.

Sunday, August 04, 2019

the love and mercy of Jesus

     Concluding a beautiful homily, our Priest reminded us that when we look at the Crucifix, we see the extent of God's love and mercy towards us.
     Jesus'holy miracle of unconditional forgiveness is the supernatural key that opens the eyes of our souls to God's Heavenly love. Father invited us to see in those around us, the opportunity to share, through our words and  actions, the love and mercy of Jesus.

Sunday, July 07, 2019

"multiple choice test"

Accepting God's Will
May I resist the inclination
To present Him with
A "multiple choice test"
Of my own feeble design
It is He who tests me
When unbearable trials
And frightening helplessness
Engulf my tranquility
Flooding my eyes with tears
The question is raised
"Will you pick up your cross?"
Holy Spirit please give me the courage,
Jesus please strengthen me 
To Imitate Our Blessed Mother
Responding in the way 
Most pleasing to God
May my only answer be
"Yes"



Sunday, June 02, 2019

Multiplication

A multiplication of graces is a gift from Jesus 
whenever we trust in Him.
"Then Jesus said, Make the men sit down". Now there was much grass in the place. The men therefore sat down in number about five thousand. And Jesus took the loaves and when He had given thanks, He distributed to them that were set down. In like manner also of the fishes, as much as they would. And when they were filled, He said to His disciples, "Gather up the fragments that remain lest they be lost." They gathered up therefore and filled twelve baskets wit the fragments of the five barley loaves which remained over and above to them that had eaten.
The Gospel of John 6:10-13
Douay Rheims Roman Catholic Bible



Sunday, May 05, 2019

The Gifts of the Holy Spirit

     One of the greatest deceptions of the evil one is that hatred is more powerful than love. Let us fuel our souls and hearts with the supernatural Gifts of the Holy Spirit. Receiving God's love in the Holy Eucharist, we live out the truth, that His Love cannot be defeated. Praises be to Jesus forever and ever!
"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom 
and the knowledge of the holy is prudence." 
Proverbs 9:10 Douay Rheims Roman Catholic Bible


The Gifts of the Holy Spirit
1)Wisdom - the highest of these supernatural gifts, this gift enables us to love and desire our Creator above all things. 
2)Understanding - is the supernatural ability to grasp teachings of our faith.
3)Counsel- supernaturally helps us to follow the Holy Spirit's guidance in all of our actions.
4)Fortitude- is the supernatural courage to uphold our faith even unto death.
5)Knowledge- supernaturally enables us to choose our actions in a manner that conforms to the will and commandments of our Heavenly Father.
6)Piety - This supernatural gift has been lost in our modern times. It is the beautiful and sweet reverence we show to our Almighty Father out of our great love for Him.
7)Fear of the Lord- This has also been lost in modern society. We fear rejecting or sinning against the Lord because we love Him so much. Motivated by this love, we deeply desire to obey rather than to offend our Heavenly Father.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Fifteen Promises of the Rosary~The Fifteenth Promise

     The Fifteenth promise to those faithful to pray the daily Rosary is that this devotion is a special sign of predestination. When I was a child, the Sisters taught us the following from the Baltimore Catechism:
     Question: Why did God make me?
     Response: God made me to love Him and serve Him in this world and to be happy with Him forever in the next.
     A beautiful way to learn precisely how to love and serve God in this world is to become familiar with the life, teachings, virtues and miracles of Jesus. Over a lifetime, contemplating the life of Jesus by praying the Rosary daily gently weaves these virtues securely into the unique tapestry each individual's consciousness. Imitating Jesus inevitably leads our souls to eternity with Him in heaven.
   "All the world is vanity except to love God and serve Him only." (Thomas A. Kempis, The Imitation of Christ)
   In a temporally minute yet supernaturally infinite way, while the praying the Rosary, our beings are turned away from the things of the world. For that brief moment of time, we are conforming ourselves, soul and body, to the heart of Christ. Through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, regular practice of this sacred contemplation mystically fortifies our supernatural affinity with the Heart of Jesus.
   Loving Jesus with the Heart of Mary by praying the daily Rosary is an invaluable spiritual gift. Sharing this divine gift with our children and loved ones assists all of us in our journey to eternal life with our Heavenly Father.
 Reflecting upon these fifteen promises and daily praying the Rosary, may your days be filled with superabundant blessings and graces from our loving God.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Fifteen Promises of the Rosary~The Fourteenth Promise

     The Fourteenth Promise to those who faithfully pray the Rosary is that they are beloved children of Our Blessed Mother, the brothers and sisters of Jesus Christ.  A sweet memory for me is slipping into slumber to the calm voice of my parents or grandparents as they told me one of many favorite bedtime stories. Many are the times I have fallen into a deep sleep while praying the Rosary. At these times, I feel as though our Holy Mother, is comforting my soul by telling me the story of Jesus. With each telling, a new understanding unfolds or a much needed insight is conveyed. Contemplating the life and virtues of Jesus as I pray the Rosary, opens my heart to receive the graces vital to living a Christian life. Surrendering my will to Jesus with childlike faith predisposes me to be showered with the beauty and truth of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
     At that hour the disciples came to Jesus saying, "Who thinkist thou is the greater in the kingdom of Heaven? And Jesus, calling unto Him a little child set him in the midst of them and said "Amen I say to you. Unless you be converted and become as little children, you shall not enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this Little child, he is the greater in the Kingdom of Heaven. And he that receiveth one such little child in my name receiveth me."

From the Gospel of Matthew

Chapter 18 Verses 1 through 5

Douay Rheims Roman Catholic Bible



Sunday, April 07, 2019

Fifteen Promises of the Rosary~The Thirteenth Promise

     The Thirteenth Promise that Mary has obtained from her Divine Son to those who are faithful advocates of the Rosary prayer shall have for intercessors the entire Celestial Court during their life and at the hour of death.  An angel comforted with Jesus at the time of His fast and strengthened Him during His agony in the garden. An angel greeted Mary Magdalene in the garden after His resurrection.
 
     Jesus said, "For where there are two or three gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them".(Matthew 18:20 DRB) Whenever we pray, we are personally accompanied by our guardian Angel who is always with us.  We are told in the Psalms that there is no where that we can "flee" from the presence of the Spirit of God (Psalm 138:7)  Furthermore, as Christians we believe in the Communion of Saints and that our souls are eternal. Therefore, all of the saints and martyrs who have gone before us continually pray for us. Our Blessed Mother is the Queen of all of the Angels and Saints. Having been the closest to Jesus throughout his life, she is the powerful intercessor on our behalf. We are never alone. Jesus has promised us that He will never leave or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5) 
    

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Fifteen Promises of the Rosary~The Twelfth Promise

     The Twelfth Promise to those who propagate the Rosary is that they shall have aid in all their necessities. Our greatest need in life is a close relationship with Our Almighty Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Divinely inspired obedience and devotion to God are exemplified by charity towards our neighbor and loving gratitude for the miraculous beauty of His creation. Our priorities are manifested in our journey's end. Loving God above all else through prayer, contemplation and selfless compassion for others leads us home to His eternal embrace. Praying the Rosary preternaturally sculpts the contours of our innermost yearnings causing our disposition to become more like His. 
For where thy treasure is, 
there is thy heart also. 
Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His justice.
 And all these things shall be added unto you.

From the Gospel of Matthew
Chapter 6 Verses 21 and 33
Douay Rheims Catholic Bible

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Fifteen Promises of the Rosary~The Eleventh Promise

     The Eleventh Promise to those who faithfully pray the Rosary is that what they shall ask through the Rosary, they shall obtain. In their greatest suffering, the holy saints and martyrs were miraculously strengthened by Our Blessed Mother's unwavering fidelity to our Almighty Father. Their steadfast fidelity was continually renewed by Jesus, as they grew more and more like Him through each trial and triumph. This divine transformation was the greatest desire of their hearts. Praying the Holy Rosary is certain to make this the greatest desire of our hearts as well.
 And seeing the multitudes 
He went up into a mountain 
and when He was set down 
His disciples came unto Him. 
And opening His mouth 
He taught them saying, 
"Blessed are the poor in spirit 
for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven.
 Blessed are the meek 
for they shall posess the land. 
Blessed are they that mourn 
for they shall be comforted. 
Blessed are they that hunger 
and thirst for justice 
for they shall have their fill. 
Blessed are the merciful 
for they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the clean of heart 
for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers 
for they shall be called children of God. 
Blessed are they that suffer persecution 
for justice sake 
for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven. 
Blessed are ye when they shall revile you 
and persecute you and speak all that is evil 
against you untruly for my sake. 
Be glad and rejoice 
for your reward is very great in Heaven. 
For so they persecuted 
the prophets that were before you."

From the Gospel of Matthew 
Chapter 5 Verses 1 through 12
Douay Rheims Roman Catholic Bible

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Fifteen Promises of the Rosary~The Tenth Promise

     The Tenth Promise to those who faithfully pray the Rosary is that they will enjoy great glory in HeavenObedience to the Commands of Our Lord is the fruit of imitation of Mary's love for Jesus. Praying the Rosary daily transforms our souls in such a way that our hearts grow more deeply in love with Jesus, who said "If you love me, keep my commandments." (John 14:15)
     "He that hath my commandments and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me. And he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father. And I will love him and will manifest myself to him." Judas (not the Iscariot) saith to Him, "Lord, how is it that thou will manifest thyself to us and not to the world?" Jesus answered and said to him, "If any one love me he will keep my word and my Father will love him. And we will come to him and will make our abode with him. He that loveth me not, keepeth not my words. And the word which you have heard is not mine but the Father's who sent me. These things have I spoken to you, abiding with you."
The Words of Jesus
From the Gospel fo John 
Chapter 14 Verses 21 through 25
Douay Rheims Catholic Bible

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Fifteen Promises of the Rosary~The Ninth Promise

     The Ninth Promise to those who faithfully pray the Rosary is that Our Lady will deliver their souls promptly from Purgatory. There are a multitude of Scriptural references to the existence and necessity of Purgatory. 
     Our Creator is perfect. Nothing impure or unholy can exist in Heaven. How could any soul, burdened with the spiritual infirmity of sin, truly enjoy eternity?

     

Sunday, March 03, 2019

Fifteen Promises of the Rosary~The Eighth Promise

     The Eighth Promise to those who faithfully pray the Rosary is that they shall have during their life and at their death the light of God and the plenitude of His graces. They will share in the merits of the blessed. 
     Saint Padre Pio, Saint Dominic, San Martín de  Porres, Santa Teresa de Ávila, Saint Bernadette, San Juan de la Cruz, Mother Teresa of Calcutta, Saint Therese of the Child Jesus, Venerable Fulton Sheen, John Paul II and many other holy followers of Jesus, devoted so much of their prayer lives to contemplation of the life and virtues of Jesus. They understood the immense spiritual value of praying the Rosary. Their lives were exemplified by constant humility, unwavering trust, and courageous evangelizing, especially at times of vehement opposition to their faith. Like Mary they lived in obedience and surrender to God's will.

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Fifteen Promises of the Rosary~The Seventh Promise

     The Seventh promise of the Rosary is that those who are faithful to this devotional prayer shall not die without the Sacraments of the Roman Catholic Church. There is nothing material that we can bring with us as we depart from this existence and pass into the afterlife. We can only carry into the eternity that which resides within our hearts. Love is of greater value than all of the wealth and fame attained during the years of our mortal days. The ubiquitous temptation, despair, is most perilous at death, amid our deepest  physical and emotional vulnerability.
      A secure relationship with Jesus, as experienced through a lifetime of devotion to Him, combined with frequent reception of the Holy Sacraments, will, without fail, lead us back to Him. The Sacraments are "outward signs instituted by Christ to give grace."  Our Hearts are made increasingly receptive to the Holy Spirit's direction by ardent devotion to praying the Rosary. Mary teaches us how to love Jesus and experience His love for us. Our desire to receive the gifts of His Sacraments is vastly augmented by daily reverent oration of the Holy Rosary. There is nothing of greater value with which to leave this temporal life than a heart filled with the love and graces of Jesus.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Fifteen Promises of the Rosary~The Sixth Promise

     The Sixth promise of the Rosary is that whoever recites the Rosary prayer devoutly, reflecting on the mysteries, shall never be overcome by misfortune. He will not experience the anger of God nor will he perish by and unprovided death. The sinner will be converted. The just will persevere in grace and merit eternal life.
     Regardless of what is happening in our lives, we are always within the loving heart of our Almighty Father. He never abandons His children. We will face misfortune, tragedy and sorrow. Grieving is a necessary and natural human process. We live in a society which rejects all sorrow as unnatural. We have been conditioned to believe that disappointment, injustice and loss will never touch our existence, and that if they do, we have somehow personally failed. Many times, we blame God.
          It is remarkable how easy it is  to forget about God in the face of financial abundance and good health. Equally astounding is how deeply we are drawn to our Creator whenever we need His supernatural assistance, long after we have exhausted every effort to independently resolve our difficulties. It is not unusual at these times to be disposed to seek Him with great fervor. He is always ready to receive us into His miraculous embrace, no matter how much we have ignored Him. We are so blessed to have a merciful God.
          Contemplation of the life of Jesus familiarizes us with the virtues needed to be spiritually successful in growing closer to God throughout all life events. Praying the Rosary transforms our hearts, causing us to respond to life's chapters and to our neighbor with gratitude and generosity. There is no mountain we cannot climb. We are never alone. Our eternal destination, to be with God in Heaven at the end of earthly life, is our greatest inspiration. We are strengthened by the examples provided by the love and mercy of Jesus. 

Sunday, February 03, 2019

"Cocina Criolla"

During my childhood, the well used copy of Carmen Aboy Valldejulí's  Cocina Criolla was ever present in our kitchen. Among my favorite recipes are tembleque and flan. Within my copy, given to me by my mother many years ago, I discovered little recipe notes scribbled by my buelita (grandmother).

Fifteen Promises of the Rosary~The Fifth Promise

     The fifth promise to those who faithfully pray the Rosary is that those who trust themselves to Mary through the Rosary shall not perish.
     Our Blessed Mother lived a life of obedience to God. No human being has ever been closer to Jesus. Through her powerful intercession, she faithfully cares for the souls of all her children.
     The lovely rose reflections of the evening clouds on the lake in the image remind me of how our souls bear a reflection of what we dedicate them to during our mortal life. We shall all experience physical death. However, the eternal destination of our souls is determined by how we choose to live. Although devotion to Christ may actually lead to our physical demise at the hands of those who oppose Him, in a mystical way, our souls shall always be safe in His care. Contemplation of the life of Christ while praying the Rosary forever imprints His love upon our souls.
"Let your manners be without covetousness, 
contented with such things as you have, 
for He hath said: I will not leave thee 
neither will I forsake thee. 
So that we may confidently say: The Lord is my helper. 
I will not fear what man shall do to me."

Hebrews 13:5 and 6
Douay Rheims Catholic Bible

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Fifteen Promises of the Rosary~The Fourth Promise

     The fourth promise to those who pray the Rosary is that this devotion will cause virtue and good works to flourish; it will obtain for souls the abundant mercy of God it will withdraw people from the love of things of this world and its vanities and it will lift them to the desire of eternal things. Oh that souls would sanctify themselves by this means.
     This morning I was watching some beautiful white tailed deer grazing and drinking. They were intensely tranquil and completely focused on nourishing themselves. When they heard my camera click they panicked and scattered into the woods. 
     In prayer, when my focus is on the mysteries of the Rosary, my soul is being nourished by the virtues of Jesus and Mary. My thoughts and actions are more likely to be directed by what Our Heavenly Creator has willed for me in His perfect design for my life. I am not saying that there is no value to spontaneous, original prayer. It's just that upon review of my life journey, I clearly see how greatly my actions and thoughts have been influenced by the presence or absence of time spent praying the Holy Rosary.  Mentally incorporating the life of Jesus and Mary into my soul directly impacted my personal choices with regards to a desire for holiness. Charity towards my neighbor was more likely during times of Rosary contemplation. 
     Pursuit of material possessions and social acceptance leads to distracting, spiritual clatter. My heart is more at peace in the hearts of Jesus and Mary. Yet, I know that I still have a long way to go. Ave María~Praises be to Jesus forever! 

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Fifteen Promises of the Rosary~The Third Promise

    The third promise to those who faithfully pray the Rosary is that this prayer shall be a powerful armor against hell. It will destroy vice, decrease sin and defeat heresies. Jesus is the Incarnate Word of Our Creator. There is no duplicity in Jesus. His love and mercy are unconditional.
      The the evil one otherwise known as the "father of lies" lures souls through deception. The dire eternal consequences of sin are disguised by his false promises of wealth, popularity and painless immortality. God is truth. Real life involves joy, sorrow, happiness and suffering. True Christian behavior is vividly depicted in the words and actions of Our Lady. It is of great significance that there are very few words spoken by our Lady in Scripture. Her actions, exemplified by quiet obedience, trust, sacrificial love, fidelity and purity, outshine all elaborate objections to Catholic devotion to her. The Holy Rosary was once called the "Poor Man's Bible." Anyone who understands the history of the practice of praying the Rosary realizes that the central motivation for this prayer is holy contemplation of the life of our Savior. The more we incorporate His words, life and actions into our hearts and souls, the more likely we are to turn away from sin. We are therefore more likely to recognize and be drawn to Him. Many questions about the Holy Rosary are answered  @ Archbishop Fulton Sheen's comprehensive audio presentation. 

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Fifteen Promises of the Rosary~The Second Promise

     The second promise of Our Lady to those who faithfully pray the Rosary, is special protection.  Sacred Scripture tells us of Our Heavenly Father's protection of Jesus, Mary and Joseph~ the Holy Family. In today's world, there is a great need for protection of the family.
      Father Patrick Peyton, servant of God, devoted his life to the propagation of devotion to Our Lady through praying the Rosary. He is famous for the saying "The family that prays toegether, stays together." Contemporary families are often crushed by the burden of procuring material posessions and social acceptance. In our culture of instantaneous gratification, there is no room for being still and listening to Jesus. Tranquil surrender to His will is replaced by frenzied and uninhibited free will.  However, many Catholic families have resumed the practice of praying the Rosary together with miraculous results.
     A loved one of mine affectionately remembers listening to Father Peyton's radio program with family members as a child. There is more information about Father Peyton and his work here: 

Sunday, January 06, 2019

Fifteen Promises of the Rosary ~ The First Promise

       Our Blessed Mother's powerful intercession for us is clearly demonstrated in her fifteen promises to Christians who pray the Rosary. The first of these promises is that whoever prays the Rosary faithfully will receive Signal Graces. Signal Graces are those little clues from the Holy Spirit that tell us we are on the right path, or unexplained nudges from our Guardian Angels that keep us out of danger. They may seem to be "coincidences". It is most pleasing to think of these Signal Graces in the former category.  There are events which serve to advance our acheivement of something we desire. 
        But what about the times we don't "get what we want?" It's much more difficult to accept the job we didn't get or the lost relationship as a blessing. Yet, if we take a close look at the life of our Blessed Mother, we can see that our Heavenly Father's plan is perfect. Mary suffered many trials and sorrows. She did not enjoy material wealth or social popularity. Yet, her sacrificial, loving acceptance of God's will is the perfect example of how we are to live as Christians. Following Mary's example can only lead us directly into the heart of Jesus. Following His will, no matter how difficult, can only lead to eternal life in Heaven with Him. 
     Many signal graces, sent so mercifully to us by Our Blessed Lord, remain unnoticed. We are so busy trying to solve our problems on our own that we are not listening to Him. Reciting the beautiful Rosary prayer in a state of peaceful surrender to Our Lord opens our hearts to His perfect guidance.