Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Feliz Navidad

Jesus is ever our 
joy, hope, peace,
justice, truth, beauty, love, mercy and salvation.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Every Valley

 "...the word of the Lord was made unto John, 
the son of Zachary, in the desert.  
And he came into all the country about the Jordan, 
preaching the baptism of penance 
for the remission of sins; 
As it was written in the book 
of the sayings of Isaias the prophet: 
A voice of one crying in the wilderness:
Prepare ye the way of the Lord, 
make straight his paths.  
Every valley shall be filled; 
and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; 
and the crooked shall be made straight; 
and the rough ways plain;"
Luke 3:2b-5
Douay Rheims Roman Catholic bible

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Porta Coeli~Gate of Heaven

 My Buelita (grandmother) taught me that Porta Coeli (Gate of Heaven) is one of the oldest churches in the Western Hemisphere. It is located in San Germán, Puerto Rico
     Many years ago, I enjoyed visiting this quiet, peaceful chapel with my Buelita. She proudly shared stories about Porta Coeli with me. My Buelita posessed a vast knowledge of the history of all of the lovely, ancient religious statues and paintings. We both greatly admired an especially beautiful statue of Our Lady and Holy Child.
     Climbing the stairs is a reminder of the steps the soul must take to become closer to Jesus. The chapel, embraced by a balmy Borinquen breeze, and the divinely inspired artwork, evoke a tranquility of the heart. How I wish I could return to San Germán and visit 

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Feast of the Most Holy Rosary~A Great Sign

"And a great sign appeared in Heaven: 
A woman clothed with the sun
and the moon under her feet
and on her head a crown of twelve stars."
Apocalypse/Revelation of John
Chapter 12 Verse 1
Douay Rheims Roman Catholic Bible

Monday, September 3, 2012

To Forgive - 7

     Jesus has blessed us with so many beautiful examples of His sweet forgiveness: Saint Matthew, the woman at the well, the good thief, the woman caught in adultery, Saint Peter, Mary Magdalene...and all of us.
     Unwillingness to forgive is so tragic! 
     The unforgiving heart distorts the beautiful life God has sculpted, blurring the perception of His miracles born from each tragedy. In the unforgiving state of mind, it is too easy to forget how magnificent is God's love. The most self destructive evil of the unforgiving heart is vengeance. We are commanded by Jesus to return good for evil. Sincere prayers for the happiness and well being of our neighbor and brother have immeasurably miraculous results in the lives of both the forgiver and forgiven. On behalf of all sinners, Jesus surrendered His life to the will of is Heavenly Father. He wants us to do the same.
     It would be easy to embitter my soul with a refusal to forgive. Some of my life "plans" did not work out. However, the interpersonal, health and financial failures that our Almighty Father allowed in my life have been magnificent compost for the love filled, fabulous, colorful, delightful and musical garden that is my life today. 
For = on behalf of/ Give = surrender  
     What has been the result of surrendering to the Lord and accepting His will? In my life, acceptance of His perfect and holy will has resulted in the Lord blessing our little family with countless miracles that we never dreamed possible. So much good has been given to us by "Papa Dios", our dear Heavenly Father. If I wrote it all down, I would be overcome with rejoicing at the number of pages of happiness that are the story of our family.
     The Lord daily blesses our family. He has planted our "querida familia" in the midst of wonderful caring friends. We pray, work and enjoy many happy times together. His Holy Spirit guides and comforts us through every interpersonal, health and financial challenge. With every loss, He has caused new life to blossom. Prayerfully loving Jesus is the center of our family life. Everything else just flows from there. Although there have been some terrifying twists and turns, we are always assured of His love because:
The Lord ruleth me: and I shall want nothing. 
He hath set me in a place of pasture. 
He hath brought me up, on the water of refreshment.
He hath converted my soul. 
He hath led me on the paths of justice, for his own name's sake.
For though I should walk in the midst of the shadow of death, I will fear no evils, for thou art with me. 
Thy rod and thy staff, they have comforted me. 
Thou hast prepared a table before me against them that afflict me. 
Thou hast anointed my head with oil; and my chalice which inebriateth me, how goodly is it! 
And thy mercy will follow me all the days of my life.
And that I may dwell in the house of the Lord unto length of days.(From Douay Rheims Roman Catholic Bible Psalm 22(23) )

Praises be to Jesus forever! 
May the Holy Spirit of our Lord assist me, as, on behalf of the salvation of my soul and the soul of my neighbor, I surrender to our Eternal Father's Holy Will.
May my every motive, thought, word and action glorify our Almighty Father.
May I imitate the Blessed Virgin Mary as I heartily strive to obey our Savior Jesus Christ.

Previous Post~To Forgive 6 and First Post~To Forgive 1
En Los Corazones de Jesús y María 

Sunday, September 2, 2012

To Forgive - 6

     Understanding what needs to be forgiven is important. Remaining safe is also important. However, prolonged rumination upon past offenses mystically disfigures the mind.
     Modeling the character according to Christ's beatitudes transforms the soul and rejuvenates the heart.    
For = on behalf of/ Give = surrender
      At some point, the continual recounting of life's betrayals becomes a flow of words that embitter the throat of the speaker and sting the ears of the listener. Mentally rummaging through the bottomless dumpster of past interpersonal conflict is exhausting. Recounting revives more pain with each telling. When I am old and sitting on my porch in my rocking chair, I don't want the stench of emotional sewage to overtake the fragrance of the multitude of sweet memories in my life. I have a right to edify my soul with beautiful recollections and spirit filled meditations. I am free to surround myself with loving friends, joyful conversation, music, art, and truly happy interactions. 
     Affection for and forgiveness of an emotionally compromised person does not always require being in their company. Recalling past offenses is often the mind's attempt to fortify a safe boundary.  Certain conversations, persons, places and events must, at times, be avoided lest they corrode the soul's joyous communion with Jesus. With the comfort and help of the Holy Spirit, and when emotional stability prevails, loving, caring interactions can take place. It is absolutely essential to lovingly pray to Jesus, asking Him to embrace all persons involved with his unconditional love and mercy. Jesus is always faithful and He loves all of His children.
     The most powerful act of forgiveness is prayer on behalf of those I forgive ~ sincere heartfelt prayers for their happiness and well being. The highest worship I can offer to our Almighty Heavenly Father is frequent worship of Him through the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Fasting, under the direction of a holy priest, is another immensely potent spiritual offering, awakening the soul to the guidance of the Holy Spirit. What beautiful ways to surrender every circumstance to our Almighty Father! Though the evil one would not like for us to see the miraculous results of Mass, prayer and fasting, these loving actions, without fail, supernaturally impact each being involved in the process of forgiveness. The forgiver and forgiven are blessed beyond measure. I have experienced this many times in my life.
     A holy priest explained to me that this scriptural passage is a lovely pattern by which to model my character in all of my motives, thoughts, words and actions: 

     The Gospel According to Saint Matthew, Chapter 5:1-12
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 possess the land.
Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted. 
Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after 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 Douay Rheims Roman Catholic Bible)

Praises be to Jesus forever!
May the Holy Spirit of our Lord assist me, as, on behalf of the salvation of my soul and the soul of my neighbor, I surrender to our Eternal Father's Holy Will.
May my every motive, thought, word and action glorify our Almighty Father.
May I imitate the Blessed Virgin Mary as I heartily strive to obey our Savior Jesus Christ. 

En Los Corazones de Jesús y María 

Saturday, September 1, 2012

To Forgive- 5

2 Corinthians 10:5 "And every height that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, bringing into captivity every understanding unto the obedience of Christ."

       Unwillingness to forgive begins in the mind. Within the unforgiving mind, the offense of the neighbor or brother is replayed like a "broken record" over and over and over again. 
For = on behalf of/ Give = surrender
          Our Catholic tradition gives us a beautiful tool to help us grapple with wandering thoughts. Sacred Catholic art catches the eyes' attention and lifts the soul into the loving embrace of our Lord. Contemplation on this beautiful ancient painting, for example, helps us to imitate the holiness of Jesus. His sacrifice was on behalf of all of our Lord's children. He surrendered His life to the Will of our Heavenly Father, so that all who choose to follow Him may gain entry into Heaven.  The Gospel of John Chapter 17 reminds us that Jesus continually prays for us. This scriptural passage is well worth frequent meditation. When the senses and mind are filled with the Holy character of Jesus and the knowledge of His ceaseless intercession for us, there is no room for the bitterness that comes from an unwillingness to forgive.
     Forgiveness is a joyous spiritual discipline which takes a lifetime to master. Praises be to our Almighty Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit for the divine gift of unconditional love!

Praises be to Jesus forever!
May the Holy Spirit of our Lord assist me, as, on behalf of the salvation of my soul and the soul of my neighbor, I surrender to our Eternal Father's Holy Will.
May my every motive, thought, word and action glorify our Almighty Father.
May I imitate the Blessed Virgin Mary as I heartily strive to obey our Savior Jesus Christ.

En Los Corazones de Jesús y María 

Friday, August 31, 2012

To Forgive - 4

     Our Heavenly Father knows exactly how many seeds are in this giant sunflower. According to Holy Scripture, Jesus commands all of His children to forgive seventy times seven.
For = on behalf of/ Give = surrender
     He doesn't ever say to stop after 490. He expects each of His children to start all over again for repeated rounds of 490, as many times as it takes~more than the number of seeds in this sunflower. Isn't His forgiveness unlimited? Suppose He said, "OK , this is the 490th time! That's it. No more chances for you!" Perhaps the numerous times that the soul is confronted with the "opportunity to forgive" is a mystical reflection of how often Christ's forgiveness has been needed. Even more astonishing, are the multitude of times His sweet forgiveness will be needed in the future! Opportunities for forgiveness may present themselves, unexpectedly, in a variety of settings. Don't many of the offenses experienced in life take the mind and heart by surprise?
     Without the Sacrament of Reconciliation, the guidance of the Holy Spirit and holy priests, it is too difficult to overcome the emotional pitfalls that require reciprocal forgiveness.
     Regardless of the hour of the day, each time I forgive is a new dawn of the Lord's glorious grace glowing through my heart. Each offering of forgiveness to my neighbor and brother is a precious seed that will grow into a beautiful spiritual flower.  I can present this sacrificial bouquet to my Almighty Father as a gift of thanksgiving for His eternal love!

Oh my Jesus, through the Immaculate heart of Mary
I offer Thee my prayers, works, joys
And sufferings of this day
In union with the Holy sacrifice of the Mass said throughout the world
For the intentions of your Sacred Heart:
The salvation of souls, the reparation of sin, and the reunion of all Christians.
I offer them for the intentions of the bishops and the apostles of prayer
and especially for the intentions of the Holy Father this month.

Praises be to Jesus forever!
May the Holy Spirit of our Lord assist me, as, on behalf of the salvation of my soul and the soul of my neighbor, I surrender to our Eternal Father's Holy Will.
May my every motive, thought, word and action glorify our Almighty Father.
May I imitate the Blessed Virgin Mary as I heartily strive to obey our Savior Jesus Christ.

En Los Corazones de Jesús y María 

Thursday, August 30, 2012

To Forgive - 3

 When the soul is suffocated 
by hatred for a brother or neighbor,
the sweet melody of forgiveness 
invites all to rejoice in God's love.
For = on behalf of/Give = surrender
      It is no accident that the same interpersonal conflicts arise repeatedly in life. Our Heavenly Father allows multiple opportunities to practice forgiveness. Who can count the number of times the same is needed from Him? The roots of feelings about the actions of one's neighbor or brother run deep. These roots are so thick they become mangled. Choking roots prevent the waters of our Lord's graces from reaching the heart. Emotions become fragile and brittle. Finally, a blow to the ego splinters the spirit into lifeless fragments. Instead of embracing the ever present love of Jesus, the arms of the spirit collapse. The soul is uprooted and disconnected from our Lord's flowing streams of spiritual refreshment. Stagnation and rotting in a self designed pool of bitterness ensue. 
     To choose not to forgive, is to reject our Almighty Father. To reject our Heavenly Father is to offend Him. This is sin. What a shameful loss it is to reject the spiritual nourishment of His unconditional love!
     The Holy Sacrament of Reconciliation is the miraculous gift of Jesus Christ's healing forgiveness. All thanks to the Almighty for the holy priests who obediently and prayerfully listen, advise and bless the penitent with Christ's sacrament of mercy, compassion and grace.
     Faithfulness in performing penance is an act of loving submission to our Lord. It is a holy gift to experience true sorrow for how deeply sin pains our Eternal Father's heart. Perhaps the heartbreak the soul feels at the offense of another is a minute sample of our Almighty Creator's heartbreak when His children sin against Him!
     Penance heightens the awareness of how to "avoid the near occasions of sin". It also prevents the soul from blindly falling into the trap of "casting pearls to swine". Choosing to be a doormat is neither holy nor humble. Truly charitable Christian behavior can be learned by studying the The Gifts of the Holy Spirit and the Works of Mercy.
      The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.
      Praying the Stations of the cross is a profoundly humbling act of gratitude for the sacrifice of Jesus. Jesus surrendered to His Father's Will on behalf of all. Those who choose to follow Him will receive His salvation. He willingly accepted psychological and physical humiliation and torture for the sins of every soul. He was not even guilty!
     As Jesus suffered and died, he mercifully gazed upon the pitiful sinfulness of humanity. How is it possible for me not to forgive my neighbor or brother while gazing upon their reflection in the eyes of Jesus as He carries His Holy Cross?
1) Jesus is condemned to death
2) Jesus takes up His cross
3) Jesus falls the first time
4) Jesus greets His afflicted Mother
5) Simon helps Jesus to carry His cross
6) Veronica offers her veil to the Holy Face of Jesus
7) Jesus falls the second time
8) Jesus comforts the weeping women of Jerusalem
9) Jesus falls the third time
10) Jesus is stripped of His garments
11) Jesus is nailed to the cross
12) Jesus dies on the cross
13) Jesus is taken down from the cross
14) Jesus is laid in the tomb

Praises be to Jesus forever!
May the Holy Spirit of our Lord assist me, as, on behalf of the salvation of my soul and the soul of my neighbor, I surrender to our Eternal Father's Holy Will.
May my every motive, thought, word and action glorify our Almighty Father.
May I imitate the Blessed Virgin Mary as I heartily strive to obey our Savior Jesus Christ.

En Los Corazones de Jesús y María

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

To Forgive- 2

Years ago, I purchased a plaque at a yard sale.
 Engraved upon it was the following dicho (saying):
"Engullimos de un sorbo
(We gobble in one gulp)
La mentira que nos adula
(The lie that flatters us)
Y bebemos gota a gota
(And we drink drop by drop)
La verdad que nos amarga
(The truth which embitters/offends us)"
For = on behalf of/Give = surrender
     The only way out of the darkness of self deception is to allow the light of Christ to illuminate the soul. It is a matter of urgency not to cloud reality of one's own sinfulness with idle mental dialogues or excuses. 
     The sacrament of Reconciliation is a beautiful, healing gift from The Almighty. Nothing less than complete honesty can prepare the heart to receive this sacrament which was instituted by our Savior Jesus Christ. Praises be to our Heavenly Father for our holy priests/confessors, who serve "in persona Cristi". The graces bestowed upon the penitent are immeasurable.
     Unrestrained willingness to pray and live out the act of contrition, is essential. The heart cannot truly forgive while measuring the actions of others through the haze of one's own sinfulness.  The lies one tells the self are the most virulent. Acknowledging one's own sinfulness is the only path to experiencing the sweet forgiveness of Jesus. Joyfully forgiving one's neighbor is a Holy and sacrificial imitation of Jesus.
     Jesus lovingly suffered and died for all who desire His salvation. The act of forgiveness miraculously opens my neighbor's heart, and mine, to the Divine Love and Mercy of Jesus.
O my God I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee.
And I detest all my sins
because of Thy just punishments:
because I dread the loss of Heaven
and fear the pains of hell.
But most of all, because I have offended Thee, my Lord
Who art all good and deserving of all my love.
I firmly resolve with the help of Thy grace
To sin no more
To confess my sins
To do my penance
To amend my life
And to avoid the near occasions of sin.

Praises be to Jesus forever!
May the Holy Spirit of our Lord assist me, as, on behalf of the salvation of my soul and the soul of my neighbor, I surrender to our Eternal Father's Holy Will.
May my every motive, thought, word and action glorify our Almighty Father.
May I imitate the Blessed Virgin Mary as I 
heartily strive to obey our Savior Jesus Christ.

Previous Post~To Forgive 1 and Next Post~To Forgive 3

En Los Corazones de Jesús y María

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

To Forgive- 1

For = on behalf of/Give = surrender
Forgiveness is a necessary and humbling,yet cleansing spiritual exercise.To forgive, it is first necessary to examine my own heart, 
not the heart of the neighbor or brother Jesus requires my soul to forgive. A review of the Ten Commandments, as found in Exodus 20:2-17,  is a beautiful scriptural guide. The good counsel of a holy priest is, as well, a blessed gift. This helps to develop a spiritually sound conscience~or, as we say in Catholic "lingo", a well formed conscience. Without indulging in "scrupulosity", 
which is so often self pity in disguise, thoughts, motives, words and actions must be as clear as the clear water coursing over the river's stones.
1) I am the Lord thy God. Thou shalt not have strange gods before me.
2) Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.
3) Thou shalt keep holy the Lord's day.
4) Honor thy father and thy mother.
5) Thou shalt not kill.
6) Thou shalt not commit adultery.
7) Thou shalt not steal.
8) Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.
9) Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife.
10) Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's goods.

Praises be to Jesus forever! 
May the Holy Spirit of our Lord assist me, as, on behalf of the salvation of my soul and the soul of my neighbor, I surrender to our Eternal Father's Holy Will.
May my every motive, thought, word and action glorify our Almighty Father.
May I imitate the Blessed Virgin Mary as I heartily strive to obey our Savior Jesus Christ.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

A Balm for Crisis

 A crisis, makes it so easy to forget the vast power of quiet prayer. "Solutions" are not always the answer to a problem...
     Trustingly being still and letting events run their course is more difficult than giving in to the impulse to "do something", or worse yet to "say something".  After all, "Silence is golden!" 
     There's something beautiful and peaceful about praying the Rosary. It is a soothing "balm" for emotional crisis. Meditation on the events of the life of Jesus elevates the soul. The mind is released from the bondage of the fear of events beyond human control. Calling upon the Holy Spirit for help, opens the heart to prayer. The Almighty Father's power to fulfill His will is more immense than the entire blue sky above. Mary and Jesus never stop interceding for their children.

Hail Mary, full of  grace, the Lord is with thee
Blessed art thou among women
And blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary Mother of God
Pray for us sinners, now,
And at the hour of our death.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Peace Beyond All Riches

     The quest for popularity, wealth and beauty is an anguish filled emotional trap. Spiritual freedom comes from grateful acceptance of our Creator's will.
A Peaceful Life of poverty with love
is better than riches with anguish and conflict
Proverbs 17:1
        Our family was blessed to know a dear little boy with Down Syndrome. He taught all of us so much about true joy and acceptance. He died tragically in a car accident about seven months ago. During his seven years of life, he shared a superabundance of light and love with family and friends. Never preoccupied with what he did not have, he joyfully embraced every bit of his life.
     As children, many of us learned from the Baltimore Catechism why God made us: " love Him and to serve Him in this life and to be happy with Him forever in the next." Thank you Sister Patricia Dolores!
     It would be wiser to boldly walk in reality, praying, "Thank you God for these unique and precious circumstances." The lack of what we think we should have is actually a divine gift. Understanding this miraculously blesses us with the delight of existing as we are - unique and precious to our Heavenly Father.
     I have learned that even my tardiness in surrendering to our Almighty Father's will was part of His perfect design.
     My life may look like a crust of bread to some, but to me it has become a gourmet feast of love, peace and joy!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

anything so great

 Transient fashions and fads only serve to fill the pockets of the greedy. Shamed into conforming to unattainable standards, it is tempting to hang spiritual and physical well being, relationships and finances on the flimsy precipice of social acceptance. Efforts to meet fleetingly achievable standards of beauty and wealth all too often lead to spiritual death and broken relationships.  Anxiety abounds. 
     The insatiable social and economic demands of life are acutely anxiety provoking, until we remember the magnitude of the power of our Heavenly Father's love for us. We are the closest things to His Heart. Our eternal well being is the sole motivation of His actions towards us. He is pure selflessness.
"Did anything so great ever happen before?"
From the book of Deuteronomy
      We are reminded, in Holy Scripture, of what our Creator and Lord did for His people in the desert-  the preternatural rupture of the sea facilitated the spectacular escape from generations long oppression, colossal pillars of fire protected and guided them by night,  abundant nourishing manna daily fell from the sky. And let us not forget the indestructible clothing! (I would like to have some of that material to make some clothes for gardening!)
     Our Almighty Father sacrificed His Son to rupture the power of death. The colossal gifts of the Holy Spirit guide us through the life's labyrinths of obscurity and pain. We are fed without limit by Holy Scripture, the Sacraments and Commandments. And let us not forget how we are swaddled in the immutable armor of His perennial, unconditional forgiveness, mercy and love "...if only we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him." (Romans 8)

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Abraham's Stars and Noah's Rainbow

  At four o'clock one balmy spring morning, I was blessed to walk with a contemplative, focused, young woman of very few words.  Quietly, and serenely, she whispered to me,  "Look at that shooting star! It's the third one I've seen this morning." 
It was the only one I'd seen...She was looking up!   
We set our hearts upon heavenly things  
     Our Heavenly Father promised innumerable descendants to Abraham and safety to Noah, for their obedience and trust. Someone once told me that by looking up at the starlit night sky, Adam could comprehend God's truths. These followers of the Lord had to "look up" to "see" His message of love for all humankind.
     Sacred Scripture instructs us to set our hearts upon Heavenly things.  Many are the Heavenly Treasures I have missed by not looking up with my heart during my life's journey!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Esther's Prayer

 Esther's Prayer stirs my heart with waves of hopefulness. 

     The double edged sword of hatred and ignorance threatened the existence of Esther and her people. We embrace the power manifested by Esther’s heart felt plea to our merciful God by entirely surrendering to His perfect and holy will. Without hesitation, Esther trusted that our Heavenly Father would bring about the answer that she and her people needed. Our loving God spoke through Esther directly into the heart of her husband. God's miraculous transformation caused this king to see her people in a favorable light. The result of Esther's surrender to God was the preservation of her people, their faith and their cultural traditions. 

Please click here to read the 
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     Allowing God’s love and wisdom to flow through our hearts is our courageous first step of hope, especially when faced with 
inevitable losses. 

     Every positive transformation begins with our first step in faith

Please Read Esther's Prayer here @ Douay Rheims Roman Catholic Bible Online