Our Lady's Garden

Spend some time with her and she will wrap you in her mantle

Who is like God!

 

The Feast of the Archangels

September 29, 2019

 

What we know about angels comes from Biblical stories and and rich religious tradition. We can study the Jewish and Christian thought on the nine choirs of angels and the specific purpose of each choir. Today, I wish to focus on the love of God that created an entire tier, three choirs of angels dedicated to mankind. The Choirs of Archangels, Principalities, and Angels who were created to guide, protect, and aid humans.

 

There is much debate on whether Michael, The Archangel, is from the choir of Archangels or whether the term “Archangel” denotes his leadership role, as in, leader, regardless of the choir membership. Saint Thomas Aquinas believed St. Michael to be of the last choir, an Archangel.

 

I love the concept that two-thirds of God’s angels are charged with the protection of Earth, its physical and spiritual reality and its population. God is creating mankind and building him a nest, Earth, to love Adam and his children. It is in the ultimate defense of man that Saint Michael takes his leadership role.

 

Theologians consider that it was God revealing the Incarnation of Jesus, God made man and the plan of Salvation, which caused the rebellion of the angels. Lucifer rejects God and God’s plan. Lucifer will not bow down and cries, “Non Serviam!” “I will never serve!”

 

Revelations unveils the scene, it is Mary, “a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and on her head a crown of twelve stars; she was with child and cries out in her pangs of birth, in anguish for delivery.” Rev 12:1-2

As the great red dragon, the devil, appears ready to consume her child. This dragon sweeps a third of the stars from the sky, the fallen angels. Michael rises up. His name is also his battle cry, “Who is like God!” In truth and with love for us, this Archangel defends God and humanity. Michael defended us before our creation. Saint Michael and his legion of angels defeat the devil who is thrown down to Earth. The battle is followed by a “loud voice in heaven saying ‘Now the Salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God. And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death. Rejoice then, O heaven and you that dwell therein! But woe to you, O earth and sea, for the devil has come down to you in great wrath because he knows that his time is short!’” Rev 12: 10-12

 

This is The Great Conflict, our battle with evil, but victory is ours. We are not alone! God prepared a place for us too, a place of protection and peace. Let us take refuge in the love and Mercy of our Great God and call upon him for protection, “I claim the protection of the Blood of The Lamb!”

 

Thank you, Archangel Michael

Please pray for us!

 

Thank you, Archangel Gabriel

Please pray for us!

 

Thank you, Archangel Raphael

Please pray for us!

 

All you Archangels,

Please pray for us!



Celebrating the Feast of St. Matthias

Saturday, September 21, 2019

 

Blog - Following the example of St. Matthias, 

seizing victory from the jaws of defeat!

 

I remember hearing my high school coach yell, “Lift your chin!” and I knew exactly what he meant - I had given up. I was an expert at giving up. The tennis match had been mine, only one game from winning in three sets, but now at the end of five sets, defeat was guaranteed. Coach was soft-spoken, and his expectation of courtesy and demeanor on the court was legendary. Coaching from the sideline was prohibited. Players were to be humble in victory and generous in defeat. Hearing him yell, “Lift your chin!” was out of character.

 

I don’t remember how the tennis match ended, but the moment stuck with me. How often we accept defeat and give up? We often fail to respond with courage. Today is the day to change that in our spiritual lives. Saint Matthew shows us that this moment, this hour, this day, is always present to those who wish to follow Christ.

 

I can imagine the scene - Matthias (his Greek name not his Hebrew name) sits after a day of collecting taxes. Taxes taken from his own people. Tax collectors were hated because they were willing to do the Roman’s dirty work. The result was distrust and exclusion from the community. It was in this fallen state that Jesus calls him, 

“Matthew, follow me.”

 

Today’s reading tells the story-

“As Jesus passed by,

 he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the customs post.

 He said to him, “Follow me.”

 And he got up and followed him.

 While he was at table in his house,

 many tax collectors and sinners came

 and sat with Jesus and his disciples.

 The Pharisees saw this and said to his disciples,

 “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”

 He heard this and said,

 “Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do.

 Go and learn the meaning of the words,

 I desire mercy, not sacrifice.

 I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.” Matt 9: 9-13

 

In biblical times, eating and drinking together made people family. In this custom of dining, Jesus welcomed sinners into the family of God. 

It transformed them. 

It transformed Matthew. 

I wonder if every time the accusation of embracing tax collectors and sinners was made, there was a finger pointed at Matthew? Did he serve as a constant reminder of shame? Maybe, but Matthew learned that all of Jesus’ miracles are the same; instead of the sin tainting Him - Jesus healed and made clean. Matthew was the embodiment of God’s mercy, not shame. 

 

We get to watch the transformation from sinner to saint in the Gospels. I love the artist, Caravaggio's image of the story. Head hung low, Matthew is quite the state; yet, he responds. He lifts his chin and he changes. 

We can follow his lead and become a new creation. 

We can lift our chin and win. 

Coach would be so proud.


Feast - Exaltation of the Holy Cross

September 14th


"Behold,

Behold the wood of the Cross,

on which on hung our salvation.

O come, let us adore."


Today, we adore the Holy Cross of Jesus.

One might ask, "Why?"

It is because we are called to do as Jesus did, 

and Jesus venerated His Cross.


In anticipation of the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, I studied the conversion of Roman Emperor Constantine and his mother, Helena. I marveled at the series of events that culminated in the Roman Empire becoming Christian. I followed Saint Helena in her travels to Jerusalem to secure relics, aide struggling Christian communities, and build churches. The history is extraordinary and worthy of note on today's Feast, but I have decided to will focus not on the discovery of the True and Holy Cross of Jesus; but to contemplate the love Jesus shows us in His love of the Cross.


I love the scene in the film, The Passion of the Christ, when Jesus receives His Cross. It is beautiful.

Jesus embraces His Cross as if it was I.

Jesus carries His Cross as if it were I.

He carries me, and through His Crucifixion, I am saved.


Today's Gospel reading from John:

"Jesus said to Nicodemus:

"No one has gone up to heaven

except the one who has come down from heaven, the Son of Man.

And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert,

so must the Son of Man be lifted up,

so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life."

For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son,

so that everyone who believes in him might not perish

but might have eternal life.

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world,

but that the world might be saved through him." John 3: 13-17


Jesus has not come into this world to condemn it but to save it.

He embraces me as His Cross.


Run into His Arms, He is waiting!


Transition and Surrender
"Jesus, take care of it!"
September 2, 2019


Transition is here.
Soon, Fall colors will soon communicate that change has begun. 

Change which not be slowed, stopped, or negotiated.


In our lives, there is an illusion of control; however, like the changing seasons, we have little control. Our children grow, we age, and life goes on. Jesus calls us to trust Him, to radically trust Him. Perhaps the best word for this radical trust is surrender.


No one likes the word surrender. It gives me a feeling of vulnerability, and no one wants to feel vulnerable, but God promises that we will not be abandoned. God will carry us. He will care for us if we only trust and follow Him.


Weeks ago, a dear friend asked me to join her in a prayer of surrender. I was very interested, but the winds of change were already blowing in my life. After two days, I did not continue.


Today, I am reminded that my many concerns belong in the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
I do need your help.
Will you join me and together we can begin and finish this novena? (click link below)

Novena of Surrender to the Will of God 

In researching this novena, I have been introduced to Father Dolindo Ruotolo. Father Dolindo (October 6, 1882 - November 19, 1970) was an Italian priest, stigmatist, who was known widely for his holy life and humble dedication to the church. Father Dolindo's cause for sainthood has begun, and he has been granted veneration as a Servant of God.


He also offered the following-


Rosary of Abandonment

God come to my assistance
Lord, make haste to help me.

Prayers -
Glory Be, Our Father, Hail Mary.

1st Decade
Repeat 10 times - "Jesus, You take over!"
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.
Amen

2nd Decade:
Repeat 10 times -"Mother Mary, guide me."
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.
Amen

3rd Decade:
Repeat 10 times - "Jesus, you take over!"
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.
Amen

4th Decade:
Repeat 10 times - "Mother Mary, guide me."
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.
Amen

5th Decade:

Repeat 10 times - "Jesus, you take over!"
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.
Amen

Conclusion -
Hail Holy Queen, Mother of mercy,
Our life, our sweetness, and our hope.
To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve.
To thee do we send up our sighs, mourning, and weeping in this valley of tears.
Turn then, most gracious advocate,
thine eyes of mercy towards us.
And after this, our exile, show unto us the
blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
O Clement,
O Loving,
O Sweet Virgin Mary,

Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God
That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
Amen



Dear Lord,
Please send your angels to care and protect those affected by Hurricane Dorian. 

Please calm the storm and protect the people.
Jesus, I trust in You!




Celebrating the Feast Day of Saint James!

Walking the walk with Saint James.

July 25



James, The Apostle
James, The Greater
James, Brother of John
Pray for us!


Saint James is one of our family's patron saints. I love the opportunity to celebrate this great man and reflect on the lessons his life teaches us.


Saint James was one on Jesus' close friends. He was in the inner circle, and witness to the great miracles. 

James heard, with his own ears, the plea of Jairus begging Our Lord to come to his home and heal his daughter. 

James saw the Lord's reaction, with his own eyes. 

With his feet, he followed Jesus and observed people telling Jairus that his daughter was dead. 

As the wailing of mourning begins, James listens to Jesus clearly say that all was not lost. The little girl was sleeping.


I can imagine the emotions as people reacted. Who did this man think he was? How ridiculous, they jeered and mocked Jesus for giving a father false hope. "We know what death looks like!" they might have cried.

Jesus continued into the house with James, Peter, and John at his side. These close friends and followers watched as Jesus took her hand and healed her. "Little Girl, I say to you, arise!" and all is well.


Many people have a great devotion to Saint James. Pilgrims from all over the world seek to draw closer to God by taking "The Way of James" or the Camino de Santiago in Spain. Pilgrims walk day after day, considering their lives, choices, and future as they grow closer to Santiago.


Perhaps, walking the Camino is on your list. Good choice.


Until you and I begin that trek, today offers an opportunity to walk with Saint James toward Christ. Consider joining me, following Jesus, wearing the sandals of Saint James.


I ask myself today-
Do I follow Jesus?
Am I listening to Jesus or questioning him?
Do I plead with Jesus with a heart full of faith or doubt?
Can I watch miracles, believe in the power of God, and praise Him? 


Can I follow Jesus like James did as he heard the words, "Talitha Koum!" Rise, Precious One!
Do I stand up, when Jesus calls my name and take His Hand?


Today, join Saint James on The Way.
Let's walk together.


Yay! Lent!
Blog - March 4, 2019


I love Lent.
I love everything about it.
On your marks . . .
Get Set,
GO!


I love Lent but sometimes get lost in my own definition of Lent.
I want to give up:
- Sugar
- Sweets
- Snacks
- Pop
- Coffee
- Facebook
- The News
- Facebook
- Did I mention Facebook?


Sometimes I forget the purpose of the season. Trying hard to listen to God’s voice, seek wisdom, and empty myself, I look to the Gospel of Matthew tightly holding Jesus’ hand -


“Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. He fasted for forty days and forty nights, and afterward, he was hungry.

The tempter approached and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command that these stones become loaves of bread. He said in reply, “It is written, One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.’”

Then the devil took him to the holy city, and made him stand on the parapet of the temple, and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down. For it is written:
‘He will command his angels concerning you’ and ‘with their hands they will support you, lest you dash your foot against a stone.’ 
Jesus answered him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord, your God, to the test.’” 
Then the devil took him up to a very high mountain, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in their magnificence, and he said to him, “All these I shall give to you, if you will prostrate yourself and worship me.” 
At this, Jesus said to him, “Get away, Satan! It is written:
‘The Lord, your God, shall you worship
and him alone shall you serve.’” Then the devil left him and, behold, angels came and ministered to him.” [Matthew 4:1-11]


No doubt, this is a scary story; maybe that is why I avoid it. Today I place myself within earshot of the devil only to listen to Our Lord. These are the thoughts that come to me in my preparation for Ash Wednesday.


#1 – The Devil knows that Jesus is God.
Knowing Jesus is God but not choosing to believe, love, and serve Him is wrong. Knowledge of Jesus isn’t what makes you a Christian; placing your life in His Hands does. The celebration of Ash Wednesday calls us to choose to love God with all of our heart, mind, and strength.

How often do we use ignorance as an excuse? Sometimes but usually, we know something is wrong but continue to choose sin. We make up all kinds of reasons to continue to live life as we do. Lent is an opportunity to reflect and reject sin. Jesus is God, let us serve Him.


#2 – Food Matters
Yes, we get hungry.
Yes, we get hangry.
The Lenten observance is often about giving up stuff. Sometimes we miss the point -Lent is not a diet.
Lent is not a time to show how strong our will is and test our self-control. Jesus’s reply, “One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.” This Lent, let us be hungry for the Word of God. May we be thirsty for His Truth. This Lent, I wish to spend time in Adoration, quietly listening to God’s voice speaking to my heart.


#3 – Pride, Pride, and of course Pride
Jesus, God Incarnate, rejects Satan’s silly request to demonstrate His Power. The Creator of the Universe is asked to throw himself down to be caught on angel wings.

What is my response to the devil’s temptation?

Fr. John Cavanaugh said, “ I’ve come up with only two hard, incontrovertible facts: There is a God, and I’m not Him.” I admit I do know that I am not God, but frequently I wish to use His blessings (the power He gives me) for my own purpose. I puff out my chest and exercise my will. This Lent, I hope to recognize my humble nature and ask God for the grace to trust Him more.
Yes, I am guilty of the sin of pride. Lord, help me repent.


This Lent, I begin at the beginning

“In the beginning, was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
He was in the beginning with God.
All things came to be through him,
And without him nothing came to be. [John 1:1-3]


This Lent I seek to see me as I am and place my faith and strength in God and repeat often-
“Get away, Satan! It is written: The Lord, your God, shall you worship and him alone shall you serve.”

It is a time to place my broken nature into the Hands of God.
To explore those ways I refuse to trust Him and radically seek His Will.


Jesus, I trust in You,

Jesus, I trust in You,
Jesus, I trust in You!



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