time, talent, treasure

“The more generous you are for God, the happier you will be.” – Saint Josemaria, The Furrow, #18

This Lent, I think it’s important that I become less “me-focused.” And it’s sooo easy to be “me-focused” in a world where egocentricity (wow! that’s a word?! I wasn’t auto-corrected ;-)) is, subtly and not so subtly, glorified.

But truly, it is in giving ourselves to God and to others in His that we find true happiness.

The Catholic Church defines “Christian stewardship” as giving your time, talent, and treasure to God and to others in accordance with what God wills for you. I know for the widower in Scripture, giving her entire life savings into the collection basket was what God called her to do… and yet, I am sure He rewarded her a thousandfold.

This Lent, I would like to be a better Christian steward via my thoughts, words, and actions– in discreet, small, tangible ways, not just big blaring ways. It will take discipline to try to give more of that “gift of [my]self” to others: with a pure, unselfish heart. And if the end at the day, I am happier, that will just be an added joy, though not the end. The end? Love. Charity. Agape.

They say true happiness lies in living a virtuous life. And a virtuous life can only be lived in Love Himself: God.

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Satan and his sly affair

My greatest enemy… is myself.

One may say Satan is our greatest enemy, but really, (most of us) have free will to do what we want. We can *personally* choose to listen to Satan, to worldly desires… to that voice inside our heads that is tainted by “the Fall” (of mankind via Adam and Eve). That tainted voice tells us that it is OK to do something that we know is bad for us or others. Conversely, we can  *personally* choose to listen to God, and to live our lives pointed towards Heaven. It is our choice. We are responsible for saying yes to the voice of the Enemy, consequently becoming our own enemies– or for saying yes to Christ Our King.

Am I listening to God? Moreover, am I DOING something about what I hear: am I clinging to His every word?

In Matthew 4:4, Jesus tells Satan: “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”

Am I listening to Satan, who in subtle AND not-so-subtle ways tempts me, daily? I am but a fool if I fail to see how hard Satan is working to gain my soul. Bit by bit, day by day, little by little… it’s a sly affair. 

Even the greatest of saints were tempted. In big ways AND in little ways. All the time. Tempted to make choices that would lead them to be less alive… less alive in Christ.

I am a saint in the making, and I need to be aware. That’s step one. Step two? To take courage! To pick up my cross and to follow JESUS: the Way, the Truth, and the Life (John 14:6).

It is Christ Our Lord’s grace that helps me to flee temptation and to fly towards Heaven!

As Saint Josemaria put it:

“Don’t forget, my son, that for you on earth there is but one evil, which you must fear and avoid with the grace of God: sin.” The Way, 386

Some youth chillin' with Papa Francesco and taking a "selfie." May God bless them on their quest for HOLINESS... holiness: striving to turn from sin and to run towards Jesus... by listening to Him and living a life built around His word!

Youth chillin’ with Papa Francesco. Hopefully, they left this inspiring pope with a thirst for holiness: to turn from sin, run towards Jesus, and live in Him by clinging to His every word!

Alleluia! Alleluia!

Psalms 108:1-5: “My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast! I will sing and make melody! Awake, my soul! Awake, O harp and lyre! I will awake the dawn! I will give thanks to thee, O LORD, among the peoples, I will sing praises to thee among the nations. For thy steadfast love is great above the heavens, thy faithfulness reaches to the clouds. Be exalted, O God, above the heavens! Let thy glory be over all the earth!”

Tonight I went to the Easter Vigil with my dear boyfriend. I could not believe our Lenten journey was coming to a close. But my, was I ready!

I was ready to enter Mass with the lights off… With lit candles… With the Exultet proclaimed to the Heavens for Our LORD!

I was ready to go through the 7 Old Testament readings, 7 Psalms, the Easter Old Testament readings and Gospel, the Easter intercessions, and the Litany of the Saints!

I was ready for them to turn on the lights in the sanctuary to signify the conquering of darkness and death by Light and LIFE!

I was ready to see the elect became members of the Body of Christ: baptized, confirmed, and receiving their first Eucharist! (This was so moving.)

I was ready to renew my own Baptismal vows! (I remembered why I am alive!)

What a journey it has been trying to uphold a spirit of sacrifice and penance in order to await this glorious day: the Feast of the Resurrection of Our LORD Jesus Christ, Easter!

I’d have to say that of the various Lenten sacrifices and “holy additions” to my life I have made these past forty days, my favorite has been trying to regularly frequent Confession again.

I am glad to conclusively and to confidently say that I re-met Mercy Himself this Lent. And He had a name: Jesus!

Jesus is not only Love; He is also Mercy.

AMEN.

ALLELUIA! (We can finally say it!)

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so, if YOU were off to see the Wizard…

The Scarecrow wanted a brain. The Tin Man wanted a heart. The Lion wanted courage. Dorothy just wanted to go home.

Like Dorothy and her friends…

We’re all looking for something, whether we admit it or not.

We’re all broken, whether we admit it or not.

God isn’t looking for you. He’s pursuing you. He knows exactly where you are, and He would like to fill that hole in your soul that only His love can penetrate!

God isn’t broken, but He did let His only Son, Jesus Christ, break for you, that you might be healed. In Christ’s death, you are being offered life!

What are you looking for?

How are you broken?

Jesus would like you to come home to Him, no matter how “prodigal” you may feel. Come to Him in the Mass. Come to Him in Confession. He is waiting with a piercing love.

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The Gospel of Saint Luke 10:25-28:

And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus said to him, “What is written in the law? How do you read?” And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” And Jesus said to him, “You have answered right; do this, and you will live.”

the Divine romance

“May Jesus be in your mind, Jesus in your heart, Jesus on your lips, Jesus in all your works.” –Saint Gaspar del Bufalo

My mind, my heart, my lips, my works. Does Jesus rest in them all?

You see… I am not just a Roman Catholic… I am also a romantic Catholic! *cymbal clash* Haha 😉

Romantic because Jesus always has me on His mind, His heart, His lips, His works! In this Divine romance,  how can I offer back to Him all of me? Well… if I really look into my core, the purity of my intentions matters.

As for my mind… do I merely wish to be powerful?

As for my heart… do I merely wish to “use” God to fulfill my “needs”?

As for my lips… do I merely wish to sound filled with the Spirit, in my own search for human approval?

As for my works… do I merely wish to appear a devoted daughter of God?

I have no power; it is Christ’s power alone.

My heart is a heart of flesh because of the One who made me. Otherwise, it would be a heart of stone.

My lips speak goodness only because He has first spoken goodness to me and offered me tenderness, mercy, and an image of a love that touches and affirms and endures, even in infidelity.

My works are mere gifts from Our Lord. My devotion is nothing of my own doing. I simply give my “fiat” and cooperate with God.

God is the source of all grace! In Him alone do I trust. In Him alone do I learn how to truly love. I pray that I can always grow better at having Jesus in my mind, in my heart, on my lips, and in all my works.

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Jesus in the Eucharist, in the center tabernacle, in the heart of San Francisco. My boyfriend and I took a mini pilgrimage to the National Shrine of Saint Francis!

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Jesus in the Eucharist, exposed in a monstrance, in the heart of New York City. My boyfriend and I took a mini pilgrimage to the Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Shrine!

 

no radio for Lent?: PURITY is God’s work, not mine!

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Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati was a young adult with a pure heart on fire for the LORD. He was truly a living tabernacle of JESUS in the middle of the world!

“Purify my heart
Let me be as gold
And precious silver

Purify my heart
Let me be as gold
Pure gold

Refiner’s Fire,
My heart’s one desire
Is to be holy
Set apart for You, Lord

I choose to be
Holy
Set apart for You, my Master,
Ready to do Your Will

Purify my heart
Cleanse me from within,
And make me holy

Purify my heart,
Cleanse me from my sin
Deep within”

–“Purify My Heart,” Brian Doerksen

Do I love others with a pure heart? How do my selfish intentions and how does my pride get in the way? Who cares about how others see me… when what really matters most is how God sees me?

Do I love God with a pure heart? Do I love myself with a pure heart… or do I simply want to make a god of myself and think highly of myself?

As I journey through Lent, the idea of purity of mind, heart, and body… has been on my, well, mind, heart, and body! (God designed us as truly integrated beings.)

This particular Lent, one of my sacrifices is not to listen to secular music or the radio. Instead, I am listening to either Christian/Catholic music or audiobooks.

Most of the songs on the radio are about romantic love, Eros (sexual desire), lust (disordered Eros), and incredible lows/highs. After just over a week of not listening to secular radio for a couple hours a day, I feel my mind focusing on higher ends, such as God’s love  and IDEAS that I have always wanted to ponder more deeply over!

I once heard a priest say that listening to a song on the radio is, in a sense, agreeing to let your emotions be influenced or controlled by whatever lyrics or melody you happen to hear. This priest’s “anti 24/7 entertainment” stance moved me.

I don’t want to simply experience life as a reaction to entertainment. I want to LIVE life as a journey that I venture! I do not want to be a product of society; I want to help shape society.

This Lent, I hope that my thoughts will gradually become more oriented towards the Divine. I hope that I will be more focused on living out my vocation as a disciple of Our Lord. I want to be centered on what is holy, noble, and pure… and most importantly, on Our Lord Who is Love.

Moreover, I increasingly realize that it is GOD who cleanses me from my worldly detachments and purifies me.

PURITY: not my work or power that is effecting the change within, but GOD’S work and power that cleanses me and makes me holy!

A living tabernacle, holding Jesus, in the middle of the world: now that’s what I want to be!

I pray that Our Lord keep the faith in me forever young.

the happiest people

I think that the happiest people are the ones who admit when they are wrong.

The happiest people are the ones who can own their past faults with no shame, knowing God’s mercy reigns.

The happiest people are the ones who can be sorry for their sins, acknowledge they must change, try their best to change, then smile at their own humanity during the entire journey to change.

There are no secrets with the happiest people. Rather, there is but one truth to proclaim to the world: Jesus, the King of Light, has come to dispel the darkness of the world!

“He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.” Proverbs 28:13

People who revel in their imperfection show the world that they are loved perfectly… by a God Who Himself is Love. They are their own kind of beautiful in Him. And they are proud.

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Eucharistic LORD: You never change!

It’s so awesome to know that no matter where you are in the world, if you go to Mass, you can expect to see and to receive the very same LORD Jesus Christ: present there before you, body, blood, soul, and divinity… and to enter into you wholly.

Hebrews 13:8-9 reads: “Jesus Christ, yesterday, and today; and the same for ever. Be not led away with various and strange doctrines. For it is best that the heart be established with grace….”.

Truly, Our LORD is always the same. In the light and in the dark, in the ups and in the downs, in the certainty and in the confusion… may we not only know, but believe and feel that He is LORD of Heaven and Earth, for all eternity.

Jesus, You never change. I at times feel like I change with the wind. But let me know that I am always your beloved daughter, no matter what. In the light and in the goodness (that I can only do through Your grace)… in the dark and in the sin… I am always loved by You, Love Himself.

May You, in the Eucharist, be the source and the summit of my life! Until we meet alas face to face.

You never change. Give me the grace to have a faith as true as Yours to me.

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what time is it?

This Lent might mean spiritual renewal for you. Or it might mean great suffering. It might mean sacrificing an extra thirty minutes of sleep per day to go to daily Mass. Or it might mean adding in an extra thirty minutes of time per day to spend with a loved one.

Whatever this time means to you, remember that it is a commodity.

Are you going towards God, or are you going away from Him?

For everything, there is a time and a season. God has a time for everything.

What time is it in your life?

“1 For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: 2 a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; 3 a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; 4 a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; 5 a time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; 6 a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to throw away; 7 a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; 8 a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.” Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

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