Spiritual Communion…

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I hear my Beloved. See how he comes
leaping on the mountains,
bounding over the hills
.   Song of Songs 2:8

How great is the Love of Jesus for us! When we cannot go to Him, He will come eagerly to us. Let us greet Him with sweet and loving kisses, unlike Judas’ kiss of betrayal. Invite Him into your heart, for it is His heaven on earth.

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Adoration…Be with Me

I sit among myriads of angels, yet it is lowly me upon whom His eyes rest…those eyes too beautiful to see while I am yet in the flesh.

Saints and martyrs surround the monstrance, yet it is my poor heart to which He listens. Every word matters. Every thought captivates Him. Every movement of love enchants Him.

The Saints and the angels are safe. I am the wandering sheep, roaming this valley of tears, still in danger. I have not yet finished the fight. He could still lose me. He cannot bear to lose even one of us, for whom He shed every drop of His Most Precious Blood.

Divine Love pours out in waves of infinite tenderness upon each child of God. We are many; yet each of us is the only one…or so it seems.

Being here is my heaven. I smile in wonder at how completely I believe, how deeply I know, without a doubt, that He is here. He is real. I know Him Whom I have never seen or heard with my senses. Yet, He has revealed and continues to reveal Himself to me. I could not live without Him. How alone I would feel if His Presence, unfelt yet known, were to leave me.

I sit here in wonder amongst all of heaven, which I do not see. The chapel is silent, dim, empty to my senses. Yet there is a voice, unheard, but somehow known: “ Be with Me”.  It is what He always says.

I am here, but also in you and in each person you meetBe with Me at every moment of your life, and come here often to gaze upon Me and keep me company.

In Heaven you will see me face to face in an enraptured, uninterrupted gaze. Here, you see me only with the eyes of faith. How this pleases Me! Cherish this time on earth when I allow Myself to be consoled by your visits. How little you appear kneeling among My angels and Saints. But it is the littleness and helplessness of My children on earth which attracts the tenderness of My Heart.

Make use of these precious years which will pass quickly before your entrance into eternity.

Come now while there is still time.  Be with Me.”

A King’s Ransom

In my thanksgiving after Holy Communion today, I found myself consumed with how completely I am owned by God.

The Price He paid overwhelmed me, as I recalled the Stations of the Cross, His Holy Face pressed into the dust and rock as the Cross fell heavily upon His scourged Body. More blows from the soldiers as He struggled first to His knees, and then to His feet….for me.

Before me was the Crucifix where I could see the nails, the nakedness, the agony, the forsakenness. Heart racing, lungs burning, muscles cramping, Blood spilling, cold sweat….Tears.

Within me, the Sacred Host. Jesus dwelling in nothingness, wretchedness, yet robing me in the Grace He had purchased with so much suffering.

I am motionless. How does one move when they contain within their dust not the universe, but the One Who made the universe? Not a pure and sacred thing, but Holiness Itself? Not a king, but a God Who is King of all kings?

How do I breathe? Why am I not annihilated by such Glory, such Majesty, such burning Purity?

“You are Mine,” Jesus said. “I paid the price. I paid more than the cost. I gave Everything. I gave All. Now no one or nothing else can ever claim you, for I gave my last drop of Blood….for you.

No one can pay more. But you can refuse my Love. You are free to love me…or not.”

I am lost in the Love I cannot comprehend, in what He chose to give in exchange for me — not an ocean of precious jewels or a mountain of gold or even a thousand universes! But His Own Blood, His Own Life is what He chose to give.

I am confused by the extravagance of my worth.

Where do I go?

What do I do?

How can I love enough?

The Host rests within me.

We are one.

And Jesus says:

“Do not fear.

My Love has made you worth

everything to Me.

And I will live in you,

And I will love in you,

And together we will go,

When the time comes…

Always together,e

For you are Mine.”

Your first day in Heaven…

My love lifts up his voice,
he says to me,
“Come then, my beloved, my lovely one, come….”  (Song of Songs 2:10)

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I love when God surprises me!

On the way home from running errands, I stopped by a church to visit Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament.  I was alone except for the organist, and a vocalist who were seated at the organ and whispering.

Kneeling, I rested my head on my arms, hoping not to be distracted by the musicians. Suddenly, the organist launched into the the majestic tones of Felix Mendelssohn’s Wedding March.  How grand it sounded, as music poured out of the huge pipe organ, filling every nook and cranny of the empty church.

I looked up toward the aisle and imagined a bride, in her beautiful wedding gown, beginning her walk on her father’s arm.  What a glorious celebration a wedding is, and the bride plays the starring role.  Everyone stands to look at her as she appears in back of the church.  Every eye follows her walk toward her waiting groom.

But then…another thought flooded my consciousness.  If a wedding on on earth can be so beautiful, so magical and magnificent, what must the eternal espousals, celebrated in heaven, between God and the soul be like?

Surely no soul arrives in Heaven as though it were just an ordinary day.  God is no ordinary Lover.  Here comes His beloved, for whom He laid down His Life to purchase her freedom. Here approaches a priceless soul, fed on His Own Body and Blood.  Here she is at last, forgiven, cleansed, purified, clothed in His Grace, and ready for that for which she was created — everlasting union with the Most Blessed Trinity.  She will never be lost to Him again.   Sin is no longer possible.  She is His forever.  My love is mine and I am His.  (Song of Songs 2:16)

I shall betroth you to myself for ever,
I shall betroth you in uprightness and justice,
and faithful love and tenderness.  (Hosea 2:21)

Yes, all of heaven rejoices as she approaches the King of kings.  No one is unaware of her presence.  She will even have a new name known only to her and her beloved.

“…to those who prove victorious  I will give some hidden manna and a white stone, with a new name written on it, known only to the person who receives it.” (Revelation 2:17)

I am grateful that the organist continues to play the beautiful Wedding March.  But my heart is caught up with awe and wonderment at what must be the celebration of a soul’s entrance into heaven.   It is a new thought for me.  I had never before considered it.

Yet, God has written of this unending day all over the Scriptures– His “foolishness of Love” as St. Catherine of Siena once described Divine Love.  We cannot hope for too much.  We cannot dream too big.  Nothing we can imagine could even come close to the reality.  God is so in love with each of us.

If we desire it, if we accept His Love, and truly love Him in return, someday the Creator of the Universe shall say to us:

You ravish my heart,
my sister, my promised bride,
you ravish my heart with a single one of your glances
with a single link of your necklace.
What spells lie in your love,
my sister, my promised bride! (Song of Songs 4:9-10)

Lifting up the world….in Him

Today is the Feast of St. Therese of Lisieux, my most beloved heavenly friend.  This post combines some of her wisdom with my own thoughts about the last presidential election.  I thought it might be appropriate to re-visit it today.  Blessings to everyone on this beautiful Feast of the great Virgin and Doctor of the Church,  Saint Therese of the Child Jesus and of the Holy Face, OCD.

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It has been reported that 50 percent of Catholics overall, and 42 percent of Catholics who regularly attend Mass voted to re-elect the current president.  I was astounded by the latter number in particular.  How can this be?

It is sad but true that many good people simply accept abortion as a “necessary evil,” one which they would not choose to participate in, but which they accept as an option for others. This same attitude of relativism is driving the tolerance and even approval of so-called same sex “marriage.” I know some of these people. They attend Mass, but ignore much of the Church’s teaching on social issues. The Church is, after all,  “extreme in these matters…and hopelessly out of date….”   As am I.

Over the past few days, I have been wondering, “What can I do Lord?  How can I make a difference?”

Then I read Evening Prayer for today, and the power of God was pulsing through every line of Psalm 46:

God is for us a refuge and strength,
a helper close at hand, in time of distress,
so we shall not fear though the earth should rock,
though the mountains fall into the depths of the sea;
even though its waters rage and foam,
even though the mountains be shaken by its waves.

And I was uplifted.  God is with us.  Of course He is!  He always is…..

Then in the Reading which followed the Psalms, I found the future….so far removed from our world engulfed by sin and darkness.  I saw the future which God desires for each one of His children:

I saw a new Jerusalem, the holy city, coming down out of heaven from God, beautiful as a bride prepared to meet her husband. I heard a loud voice from the throne cry out: “This is God’s dwelling among men. He shall dwell with them and they shall be his people and he shall be their God who is always with them.” I saw no temple in the city. The Lord, God the Almighty, is its temple — he and the Lamb. But nothing profane shall enter it, nor anyone who is a liar or has done a detestable act. Only those shall enter whose names are inscribed in the book of the living kept by the Lamb.  (Revelation 21: 2-3, 22, 27)

One day, I hope to dwell in this holy place with all of my brothers and sisters.

And God brought to mind what I could do.  I thought of the Angel of Peace, who appeared to the children of Fatima.  I remembered the prayers that He taught them, and I particularly remembered the brief intercessory prayer, so simple, so perfect:

My God, I believe, I adore, I trust and I love Thee! I beg pardon for all those that do not believe, do not adore, do not trust and do not love Thee.

This prayer from Heaven was entrusted to the innocent souls of little children. But, we can all pray it, sinners though we may be. We can pray for those who may be far from God, and not even aware of it, or worse, not even care.

But God is so Good and so Merciful, and Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ has won for us an Infinite Treasury of Graces from which our prayers may draw down pardon, light, a change of hearts…even miracles.

In the words of the “greatest Saint of modern times,”

The Almighty has given them (the saints) as fulcrum: HIMSELF ALONE; as lever: PRAYER which burns with the fire of love. And it is in this way they have lifted the world; it is in this way that the saints still militant lift it, and that, until the end of time, the saints to come will lift it.” Story of a Soul: The Autobiography of ST. Therese of Lisieux (3rd edition, by John Clarke, O.C.D.), p. 258.

LORD, send us Your Holy Spirit, that our prayers may “burn with the fire of love,” so that like St. Therese, we may lift the world up to You, so that one day all people will believe in, adore, trust and love You.

“Be still and know that I am God, supreme among the nations, supreme on the earth!” (Psalm 46)

(All Scripture verses are from the Liturgy of the Hours, Evening Prayer II, Feast of the Dedication of St. John Lateran)

(First posted on November 9, 2012)

A Little Pentecost…

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How faithful and loving is the Holy Spirit as He carefully directs our souls.  I am convinced that in Heaven we will be astonished at all that He has done for us at every moment….the inspirations, the graces to resist temptation, the soothing comfort when we are troubled, the wisdom to solve difficulties that come our way.

And yet, He cares about other things too…like friends.

When I was a young mother, we moved to a new town.  I didn’t know many people for quite some time, and I didn’t know anyone at all with whom I could share my Catholic faith.  This was especially painful since I had just left a community of Catholic friends and a most beloved pastor in my former parish.

Thirsting to hear Jesus spoken about, I would often watch Protestant television shows.  Our cable network didn’t carry EWTN at the time.

While reading a book one day, I came across a beautiful prayer to the Holy Spirit.  It was actually the Veni Sancte Spiritus.  Suddenly I had an idea.  Although I had not prayed much to the Holy Spirit previously, I would make a 30 day novena to Him, using the Veni Sancte Spiritus.

And so I did.  I prayed this prayer each day for 30 days, with the intention that the Holy Spirit would send me a friend with whom I could share my Catholic faith.

When the 30 days were up, my phone rang.  It was Paula, the neighbor who had moved next door a couple of months before.  We had exchanged small talk over the fence a few times, but I really knew very little about her.  So, I was quite surprised to hear her voice on the phone.

She had called to tell me that she was attending a Life in the Spirit seminar at her church.   I had already attended one a couple of years before, and so I knew what she was talking about.  But I was amazed that she had called out of the blue to tell me about it.  (Holy Spirit, is that you?)  Then she suggested that we attend an upcoming charismatic conference together.

Paula was one of those people who is a magnet for friends.  Outgoing and absolutely hilarious, everyone knew and loved her.  Before long, the Holy Spirit had sent me more friends than I could ever have wished for.

To make a long story short, Paula and I had many faith related adventures throughout the next dozen years.  We even met with our cable company and got them to pick up the four hours of EWTN which were available at the time.  Much to my surprise, I found myself being towed by Paula to the founding meeting in our diocese for a women’s prayer breakfast ministry.   Throughout the six years I served, I made many more friends and was blessed to meet speakers from all over the country and to pray with some of God’s most devoted children.

It was shortly after I left this ministry that Paula went back to work.  Her kids were then in high school.  At the same time, I found myself drawn to a more contemplative, quiet way of life.  I looked into third orders, and after much prayer began attending meetings with the Discalced Secular Carmelites.  Eucharistic Adoration had also become a frequent and much loved part of my prayer life.

And so the Most Beloved Holy Spirit answered my novena in a wondrous way.  He tossed me out of my comfort zone into a whirlwind of people and active ministry.  (As they say, be careful what you pray for 😉  )

As He drew me back to my true preference for solitude, quiet prayer and adoration,  He confirmed my beautiful vocation to the contemplative Order of Carmel and I made my First Promise in 1998.

But among that  group of extraordinary women who became my friends for a time, I learned that with God’s Grace, I could do things I never dreamed possible.  It was an exciting, energizing and delightful time in my life.  I am forever grateful for those years.

My life these days is quiet and simple…focused more on our growing family which now includes grandchildren.  My husband and I moved to a rural town several years ago, and I have lost touch with Paula and most of the women who were my friends twenty years ago.

But I am surrounded by the beauty of nature, and best of all, a perpetual Adoration chapel is only 15 minutes away.  It is there that I regularly meet with my very Best Friend, the One I had been seeking all along.

I am thinking of beginning another 30 day novena to the Holy Spirit this Pentecost.  And although I don’t expect tongues of fire, I have a feeling that the answer will come in, at the very least, a “little Pentecost.”

Come Holy Spirit, and knit my soul to Thee!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jesus!

 

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Glory to God for such a Savior as we have in Jesus Christ!  His Love knows no limits.  He chose to suffer all that He, the God-Man, could bear in Body and Soul. He could have chosen otherwise, but He never gives less than All.

Will we not need an eternity to ponder and contemplate so great a God as we have? What mystery, what beauty, what Love is the Life and Person of Jesus Christ.

And He loves us! Each one of us with an unfathomable Love. We would die of joy if we truly comprehended how lovingly obsessed He is with His children.

Today, we celebrate His Glorious Resurrection. He lives forever, and so shall we, if only we desire it, and go to Him. He has already told us that He turns no one away. How merciful He is!  How inconceivably blessed are we!

Imagine, one day we will see His Face…the Face of God.

Jesus Christ is risen today!    Our hope, our joy, our Heaven.  Jesus!