Category Archives: Faith

Our Sacrifice with Christ’s? What is It?

Love of the CrossWhat is your sacrifice, your oblation which is joined to that of Jesus Christ in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass?  Do you offer it?

I was inspired to consider this question.  I have been wandering whether I am getting through to the Lord at Mass.  Am I being heard?  What should I be offering?  What can I possibly offer here which is not already annihilated by Christ’s own inexhaustible Gift for the eternal salvation of our souls?

It came to me.

It’s not just our praise.  Men brown-nose their bosses with praise daily.  No, it is not simply praise since praise by itself is empty…empty of what it is the Lord is seeking.

What is the Lord our God seeking?  He is seeking…

FAITH. He wants us to walk in to Him truly believing in our hearts that He is real and really loves us.

HOPE. He wants us to walk in to Him truly hoping in our hearts that He has a plan for us, a plan so wonderful and fulfilling that we would nearly die of joy if we knew it in its fullness now.

LOVE.  He wants us to walk in to Him truly desiring to obey every one of His words, whether through Scripture or through Tradition, knowing that to obey Him is to do everything which is exactly right for each and every one of us.  You know, the true obedience of love takes faith and hope.

SURSUM CORDA…ET GRATES.  So, when we are at Mass, and you hear “Sursum corda!” or “Lift up your hearts!” then exclaim in your hearts, “I believe you!  I hope in your plan!  I desire to do whatever you say, Father, Son and Holy Spirit!  Speak to me!  Guide me!  Be with me!  Heal me! Refresh me in my suffering for you!  I am yours and You are Mine!  I am nothing without you. Thank you for what you are doing for me!”

Thanks be to GodThose who bring thanksgiving as their sacrifice honor me;
 to those who go the right way
I will show the salvation of God. [Psalm 50:23]

SMILE. Because we are so tempted and injured and so stressed by the world, this is our sacrifice, a sacrifice of the spirit which enjoys in us and brings our bodies along with it in a great big smile. 🙂

This is all summed up in St. Paul’s exhortation,

I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect. [Romans 12:1-2]

And after our sacrifice to and with the Lord, in the Mass, a sacrifice of joy!

This day is holy to our Lord; and do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength. [Nehemiah 8:10]

I love You my Lord.  Why would I not? Thank You forever and ever. Amen.

 

 

Cleansed by Spirit and Fire – Make Me Holy, Lord!

Early this morning, I was contemplating the chaste holiness of God.  It was a delightful experience – similar to what it might be like swimming in crystal clear springs of Total Goodness and Truth.  But, then my thoughts began to corrupt the experience, and it left me.  I was made acutely aware of my state of being compared to the most holy God.  I was acutely aware of the Lord’s expectation, and my and your duty:

I-am-the-Lord-your-God-I

My prayer from this morning was this:

Lord, cleanse my heart with the breath of Your Spirit and with Your Thoughts, that I may become one with You, purified through You, in You and with You. Without You, I am broken and coarse. But, You can make me whole and refined if You will it. This is what I desire, because I love You. Amen

Then, today, at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the readings and homily were exactly in line with my early morning contemplations.  This is what happens when the Spirit is moving us.  We are being prepared even before we see and hear; we may even think about what the Pope will speak about even before he speaks at an audience, for example.

At Mass, we were at the point where the Priest begins the Eucharistic Prayer, and I began to imagine the Lord working in me.  The Eucharistic Prayer begins like this:

Priest: “Lift up your hearts.”

People: “We lift them up to the Lord.”

Priest: “Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.”

People: “It is right and just.”

I prayerfully lifted up my heart, my very soul, in sorrow for my past errors and present unholiness and brokenness compared to God.  For He commanded this to be said to the congregation of the people Israel,

“You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy.” [Leviticus 19:2]

The holiness of the Lord is so great, that is, He is so chaste and true and unerring in thought that even the Seraphs, hiding their faces, exclaim:

Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts…”! [Isaiah 6:3a]

He is not one degree of holiness, but He is root of holiness.  We are called to be holy as He is holy, but the gap between our meager attempts at holiness and His actual holiness is huge.  We cannot scale the gap without His divine help, and we must certainly try.

But then I saw in my mind,

Jesus breathing His Spirit on my heart, and sparks flying from it like impurities being burned in a fire.  

After receiving Jesus in Holy Communion, I heard,

You have received mercy today.

As our homilist suggested today, it was like being baptized again, for as the words of John the Baptist are written about the Lord in Sacred Scripture,

“He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” [Luke 3:16b]

I felt the Lord was helping me today – saying that He can, does and will help me, but He is the one who must do it in me.  And, I must protect what He gives me.

One of the things I struggle with, today, is defining my life of service.  I am married, and I do serve my wife as best I can, and improving on that as I go, there is a fuller service to which God calls me.  I hear,

Serve!

Serve God, but where and when and how?  And I hear at times of true prayer,

Marry me.

Marry God, but where and when and how?  I understand, but not fully since this marriage must be supernatural and in the spiritual realm.  There is a future meaning to it now: only a betrothal – a request.  I want to doubt it because my understanding is human, but then I believe it because I know that I do not understand the divine; how can I understand by myself?

But, this marriage cannot happen if I am not holy as the Lord my God is holy.  I invite Him to make me holy.

I adjure you, Lord. 

Make me holy.  

Make me holy.  

Make me holy.  

I desire this.

Have mercy; make me holy! 

Amen.

 

 

 

 

Gayla, My Child

This morning, I dreamed that my wife and I were driving somewhere together, and then in a cradle between us appeared a beautiful, fair-complected, fiery red-headed baby girl wearing a white dress. She could not have been more than 1 year of age. She was smiling and endearing to me, wonderful to behold.

I told my wife, “I don’t remember that we have a baby girl.” But, at that moment, I had memory of having a baby girl, named Gayla. I then held and carefully hugged Gayla, happy child, for she was soft and delicate in every way. And, I was happy.

According to my brief research, Gayla may be a derivative of the Hebrew name “Avichayil” (Abigail) which means “exalted father” or “father of exaltation.”

I am blessed to have had this dream, and to have seen and held this child. To me, it was indeed a “gala,” a festive event.

For those wondering: no, we have had no children of which we are aware, except for the child we miscarried, who my wife named Maddie. She says she has seen Maddie in dreams and in prayer, characterizing her like a little, strong and courageous St. Joan of Arc doing battle against demons alongside St. Michael the Archangel. Isn’t that interesting?

May God be praised. Amen.

Gayla is far more beautiful than this dear child. Can you imagine that?

One Mystical Body of Christ – Yet Still Wounded

I am still amazed at the frequency at which I see some Protestant ministers privately preaching against the Catholic Church to their congregations. It amazes me for the following reasons:

  1. Catholic priests don’t preach against Protestant denominations. Though willfully separated, they are considered fellow Christians, dignified by baptism.
  2. All Sacred Scripture and most Protestant faith traditions came down to Protestants from the Catholic Church which was founded by Christ on St. Peter, the first Pope.

We need to strive to learn and accept that there is and can only be one Church of Christ, the entire Body of which subsists in the Catholic Church, against which Christ promised the gates of Hell would not prevail (the “gates” being, among other things, the proud spirits of rivalry, division, schism, and in some cases, even hatred).

When Spiritual Souls Atrophy

Those who exercise their spiritual soul in prayer to God, in the obedience of worship and the sacramental life, and in right action will be able to understand better the “technology” of the spiritual life.

If we do not exercise the spiritual soul, if we do not faithfully and deliberately open our souls to God and His protecting presence, then our spiritual souls may very well atrophy like unused muscles.  

Our atrophied spiritual soul becomes like a dried wine skin which, when tested, cracks and leaks, being unfit and unable to hold the richness of God’s life-giving presence, and letting in the decay of parasitic, life-killing presence which weakens the soul, making it look more like the parasite which feeds upon it.  [ See Luke 5:33-39 for context ]

  • The praying soul is the healthy, healing, living soul.  God is allowed in to give it life and to sustain that life.  Think of wine which continually renews the wine skin which holds it.  The skin becomes like the good, new wine it bears.
  • The God-less soul is the sick, rotting, dying soul.  God is prevented from entering in.  Think of a wine skin which is dry and cracked where water, mold and mildew enter to eat the skin, and the skin looks like mold.

The atheists will not understand this until that day when they are on the verge of spiritual decimation, when God intervenes to offer to save what is left before it is too late – an intervention required and allowed when the spiritual soul is too weak, too damaged to help itself.

This is the spiritual soul of the one lost lamb who ran away from the Good Shepherd, but who fell into the crevasse, and after much time without food and with broken legs, could not help itself.  The Good Shepherd did not do this.  No.  The rebellious little lamb ran away. [See John 10 for context]

The fate of the lamb rests in the willingness of the lamb to be saved. 

 May all such lost lambs set aside pride and anger and say, “Yes” to true Love, even if it hurts to be healed.  

I Will Know You in Your Wounds

image“Then he said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here and see my hands, and bring your hand and put it into my side, and do not be unbelieving, but believe.”

~ The Lord, Jesus Christ to St. Thomas the Apostle, gospel of John, 20:27 NAB

Do you know someone close to you who has deep scars of some type, whether physical or emotional or both, and the circumstances surrounding those scars?  If you know the scars and the circumstances, do you not have a more intimate bond with them than someone else who is acquainted yet hasn’t this knowledge?  You do, and this knowledge draws you closer to them if you have the capacity for compassion and love, and if this compassion and love can flow freely from you to them.  But, these things can become thwarted or blocked by some obstacle – some vice or wrong or injustice, whether actual or perceived, which has been done between you two, where distrust is allowed to grow and fester.   True?

Isn’t this what happens between us and God when we commit sin or become self-absorbed, e.g., through anger, in some way?  By our sins or bad actions, we lose the ability to be tender and we become hardened.  We forget Who our Friend Is, and we inadvertently begin blocking the flow of life-giving love and mercy into our own souls such that we are unable and, eventually, unwilling to allow the love and compassion to continue flowing into and then out from us to others in need.

Is this not what happened to St. Thomas the Apostle?  Yet, when he returned to investigate and touch the Very Wounds of Christ, his spiritual eyes were opened and he knew with faith…the obstacles were removed and he was once again able to believe and hope and love…

“Thomas answered and said to Him, ‘My Lord and my God!'”

~ Gospel of John, 20:28 NAB

Was this not a miraculous healing of Thomas’ soul which had become hardened?

Ponder the Wounds of Christ during Lent.  Touch His Wounds in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  There is constant, salvific healing there.