Our Lady's Garden
I vacuumed up Jesus.
January 7, 2017
Happy Saturday and Eve of The Epiphany! I was straightening up the house, doing a bit of dusting and vacuuming. The Christmas tree is up and lit and weeping pine needles. I cleaned beneath it yesterday only to find the same landscape of green today.
I grabbed the vacuum attachment and worked among the assortment of preschool nativity figures set up under the tree when . . . shooomp! Yep, Jesus. I vacuumed up Jesus! My shriek brought big kids running to my
aid. “I vacuumed up Jesus!” I cried. “You vacuumed up JESUS?” they responded. “Don’t just stand there, help me!” I said.
I removed the bag as they argued with me that certainly, I had not. “Yes”, I repeated, “I did”. I really thought that the white felt body and the wooden head would be easily found as I ripped open the bag and began my search. 5 minutes, no Jesus. 10 minutes, no Jesus. My daughter, hand on her hip, asked, “Well, have you prayed?”
“No. No, I hadn’t.”
I prepared a surface and spread the debris of lint, lego pieces , and hair (lots of hair) and finally my hands found the lost figure. Washing the felt blanket, I could only state the obvious, “This isn’t gonna be good.”
Not since last week when my youngest shared her “pocketful of spaghetti” did I feel so inadequate. Instead of truly enjoying the final days of Christmas, I am looking forward to putting away the ornaments, getting back to normal, and cleaning house. As the Magi approach, may we respond again to Jesus in the nativity and choose to place our view on Him.
We are called to be people of God, not of this world!
Happy Epiphany! Remember, wise men still seek him!
What's in a name?
The Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus
Jan 3, 2017
Today, we celebrate the Holy Name of Jesus. I hope you still are enjoying that nativity scene up in your home and today let us celebrate the blessing that this small baby in Mary’s arms was named before His conception. His name means "God, Who Is With Us."
Today, we celebrate the word made flesh. In each day of this present Christmas Season, we should celebrate this reality. Isn’t Christmas amazing!
Have you ever wondered the meaning of the letters IHS? This symbol is largely attributed to Saint Ignatius, although it was used as early as the 3rd Century. IHS stands for the Greek letters: Iota, Eta, and Sigma. My Dictionary of the Liturgy states “IHS – which are the first letters of Jesus in Greek.” (Lang 251) This monogram, which represents the name of Jesus Christ, was widely used and in 1541 St. Ignatius of Loyola used the emblem in such a way that it is viewed as a symbol of the Jesuits, The Society of Jesus.
Traditionally, monograms like IHS or JMJ (Jesus, Mary, and Joseph) were frequently used while writing letters, in parochial school work, as a constant reminder that all we do should be done in the Name of Jesus. It is a beautiful tradition. Maybe it is time to reinvigorate the habit. When writing a love note or a reminder, consider including the Name of Jesus, IHS, in some way.
Praying the Name of “Jesus” is a prayer.
Litany of the Most Holy Name of Jesus
Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
Jesus, hear us.
Jesus, graciously hear us.
God, the Father of Heaven, have mercy on us .
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us.
God, the Holy Spirit, have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, one God, have mercy on us.
Jesus, Son of the living God, have mercy on us.
Jesus, Splendor of the Father, have mercy on us.
Jesus, Brightness of eternal Light, have mercy on us.
Jesus, King of Glory, have mercy on us.
Jesus, Sun of Justice, have mercy on us.
Jesus, Son of the Virgin Mary, have mercy on us.
Jesus, most amiable, have mercy on us.
Jesus, most admirable, have mercy on us.
Jesus, the mighty God, have mercy on us.
Jesus, Father of the world to come, have mercy on us.
Jesus, angel of great counsel, have mercy on us.
Jesus, most powerful, have mercy on us.
Jesus, most patient, have mercy on us.
Jesus, most obedient, have mercy on us.
Jesus, meek and humble of heart, have mercy on us.
Jesus, Lover of Chastity, have mercy on us.
Jesus, our Lover, have mercy on us .
Jesus, God of Peace, have mercy on us .
Jesus, Author of Life, have mercy on us .
Jesus, Model of Virtues, have mercy on us .
Jesus, zealous for souls, have mercy on us .
Jesus, our God, have mercy on us .
Jesus, our Refuge, have mercy on us .
Jesus, Father of the Poor, have mercy on us .
Jesus, Treasure of the Faithful, have mercy on us .
Jesus, good Shepherd, have mercy on us .
Jesus, true Light, have mercy on us .
Jesus, eternal Wisdom, have mercy on us .
Jesus, infinite Goodness, have mercy on us .
Jesus, our Way and our Life, have mercy on us .
Jesus, joy of the Angels, have mercy on us .
Jesus, King of the Patriarchs, have mercy on us .
Jesus, Master of the Apostles, have mercy on us .
Jesus, Teacher of the Evangelists, have mercy on us .
Jesus, Strength of Martyrs, have mercy on us .
Jesus, Light of Confessors, have mercy on us .
Jesus, Purity of Virgins, have mercy on us .
Jesus, Crown of all Saints, have mercy on us .
Be merciful, spare us, O Jesus!
Be merciful, graciously hear us, O Jesus!
From all evil, deliver us, O Jesus .
From all sin, deliver us, O Jesus .
From your wrath, deliver us, O Jesus .
From the snares of the devil, deliver us, O Jesus .
From the spirit of fornication, deliver us, O Jesus .
From everlasting death, deliver us, O Jesus .
From the neglect of your inspirations, deliver us, O Jesus .
Through the mystery of your holy Incarnation, deliver us, O Jesus .
Through your Nativity, deliver us, O Jesus .
Through your Infancy, deliver us, O Jesus .
Through your most divine Life, deliver us, O Jesus .
Through your Labors, deliver us, O Jesus .
Through your Agony and Passion, deliver us, O Jesus.
Through your Cross and Dereliction, deliver us, O Jesus.
Through your Sufferings, deliver us, O Jesus.
Through your Death and Burial, deliver us, O Jesus.
Through your Resurrection, deliver us, O Jesus.
Through your Ascension, deliver us, O Jesus.
Through your Institution of the Most Holy Eucharist, deliver us, O Jesus.
Through your Joys, deliver us, O Jesus.
Through your Glory, deliver us, O Jesus.
Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world, spare us, O Jesus!
Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world, graciously hear us, O Jesus!
Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world, have mercy on us, O Jesus!
Jesus, hear us.
Jesus, graciously hear us.
Let us pray.
O Lord Jesus Christ, you have said, "Ask and you shall receive; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you"; mercifully attend to our supplications, and grant us the grace of your most divine love, that we may love you with all our hearts, and in all our words and actions, and never cease to praise you.
Make us, O Lord, to have a perpetual fear and love of your holy name, for you never fail to govern those whom you solidly establish in your love. You, who live and reign forever and ever.
Prayer taken from Catholicculture.org (Link Below)
Keeping it Simple in 2017
January 1, 2017
May the Lord Bless you in this New Year!
Today you may be reflective, that is good.
Today, you may have big plans for the future, that is good.
Today, you may have high hope for a new beginning.
Today, you may have a personal to-do list that changes everything.
It's New Year's Day; everyone has big plans today.
At the Vigil Mass last night, I was encouraged that the New Year begins with a blessing:
The LORD said to Moses:
"Speak to Aaron and his sons and tell them:
This is how you shall bless the Israelites.
Say to them:
The LORD bless you and keep you!
The LORD let his face shine upon
you, and be gracious to you!
The LORD look upon you kindly and
give you peace!
So shall they invoke my name upon the Israelites,
and I will bless them." Numbers 6:22-27
Let us accept God's blessing and offer a blessing on one another. Let us seek God's face. Let us seek peace and let us accept his kindly gaze upon us. Kindness is good.
Question- What if we put away our hardcore to-do list for 2017 and simplify things.
Here is my idea for the New Year:
Seek God's Will.
My list comes from a personal reflection on Mother Teresa's quote,
"God does not ask me to be successful, He asks me to be faithful."
Releasing the expectation for success is a big deal. I think it is a hard thing for Momas to accept. Making things "right" is an occupational hazard and this year I am challenging that notion in my life. Control is an illusion; I am surrendering it. I am offering a radical surrender of my life. I can claim only two things: God's Love and God's Grace. Both are gifts that I accept with all my heart; everything else is beyond my control.
Today, I pledge to seek God's Will. I know that is always to do good and to avoid sin in always God's Will. Seeking God's Will is probably be enough for any day. Heavy lifting business: avoiding sin and seeking God's Will.
Accepting our lack of control is hard. It is painful and so I am seeking guidance in the new weekly addresses offered by Pope Francis. Join me, we are a couple weeks behind but that's ok. You can read the first address here.
The final goal is to offer encouragement. If we reject the idea that we can fix things, then life will be easier and a lot is possible. Being available to a friend to easier than trying to be a "fairy godmother." (Reminder – You haven't a wand and you never had the ability to make thing perfect anyway.) My goal is to start truly being available; available to my children, my husband, my friends . . . strangers. This is a huge deal for me. The thing is this moment is the only thing we have, this very moment is all we have ever had.
Finally, don't forget to pray. It is a blessing to pray.
I offer this prayer for you,
May The LORD bless you and keep you!
The LORD let his face shine upon
you, and be gracious to you!
The LORD look upon you kindly and
give you peace!
Peace, Joy, and Hope in this New Year,
Paul VI Audience Hall
Wednesday, 7 December 2016
Christian hope - 1. Isaiah 40: “Comfort, comfort my people…”
Dear Brothers and Sisters, Good morning!
Today we shall begin a new series of catecheses, on the theme of Christian hope. It is very important, because hope never disappoints. Optimism disappoints, but hope does not! We have such need, in these times which appear dark, in which we sometimes feel disoriented at the evil and violence which surrounds us, at the distress of so many of our brothers and sisters. We need hope! We feel disoriented and even rather discouraged, because we are powerless and it seems this darkness will never end.
We must not let hope abandon us, because God, with his love, walks with us. “I hope, because God is beside me": we can all say this. Each one of us can say: “I hope, I have hope, because God walks with me”. He walks and he holds my hand. God does not leave us to ourselves. The Lord Jesus has conquered evil and has opened the path of life for us.
Thus, particularly in this Season of Advent, which is the time of waiting, in which we prepare ourselves to welcome once again the comforting mystery of the Incarnation and the light of Christmas, it is important to reflect on hope. Let us allow the Lord to teach us what it means to hope. Therefore let us listen to the words of Sacred Scripture, beginning with the Prophet Isaiah, the great Prophet of Advent, the great messenger of hope.
In the second part of his Book, Isaiah addresses the people with his message of comfort: “Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that her warfare is ended, that her iniquity is pardoned.... ‘A voice cries: In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain. And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken’”. (40:1-2, 3-5).
God the Father comforts by raising up comforters, whom he asks to encourage the people, his children, by proclaiming that the tribulation has ended, affliction has ended, and sins have been forgiven. This is what heals the afflicted and fearful heart. This is why the Prophet asks them to prepare the way of the Lord, to be ready to receive his gifts and his salvation.
For the people, comfort begins with the opportunity to walk on God’s path, a new path, made straight and passable, a way prepared in the desert, so as to make it possible to cross it and return to the homeland. The Prophet addresses the people who are living the tragedy of the Exile in Babylon, and now instead they hear that they may return to their land, across a path made smooth and wide, without valleys and mountains that make the journey arduous, a level path across the desert. Thus, preparing that path means preparing a way of salvation and liberation from every obstacle and hindrance.
The Exile was a fraught moment in the history of Israel, when the people had lost everything. The people had lost their homeland, freedom, dignity, and even trust in God. They felt abandoned and hopeless. Instead, however, there is the Prophet’s appeal which reopens the heart to faith. The desert is a place in which it is difficult to live, but precisely there, one can now walk in order to return not only to the homeland, but return to God, and return to hoping and smiling. When we are in darkness, in difficulty, we do not smile, and it is precisely hope which teaches us to smile in order to find the path that leads to God. One of the first things that happens to people who distance themselves from God is that they are people who do not smile. Perhaps they can break into a loud laugh, one after another, a joke, a chuckle ... but their smile is missing! Only hope brings a smile: it is the hopeful smile in the expectation of finding God.
Life is often a desert, it is difficult to walk in life, but if we trust in God it can become beautiful and wide as a highway. Just never lose hope, just continue to believe, always, in spite of everything. When we are before a child, although we have many problems and many difficulties, a smile comes to us from within, because we see hope in front of us: a child is hope! And in this way we must be able to discern in life the way of hope which leads us to find God, God who became a Child for us. He will make us smile, he will give us everything!
These very words of Isaiah were then used by John the Baptist in his preaching that invites to conversion. This is what he said: “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the Lord” (Mt 3:3). It is a voice which cries out where it seems that no one can hear it — for who can listen in the desert? — and which cries out in the disorientation caused by a crisis of faith. We cannot deny that the world today is in a crisis of faith. One says: “I believe in God, I am a Christian” — “I belong to this religion...”. But your life is far from being Christian; it is far removed from God! Religion, faith is but an expression: “Do I believe?” — “Yes!”. This means returning to God, converting the heart to God and going on this path to find him. He is waiting for us. This is John the Baptist’s preaching: prepare. Prepare for the encounter with this Child who will give our smile back to us. When the Baptist proclaims Jesus’ coming, it is as if the Israelites are still in exile, because they are under the Roman dominion, which renders them foreigners in their own homeland, ruled by powerful occupiers that make decisions about their lives. However, the true history is not the one made by the powerful, but the one made by God together with his little ones. The true history — that which will remain in eternity — is the one that God writes with his little ones: God with Mary, God with Jesus, God with Joseph, God with the little ones. Those little and simple people whom we see around the newborn Jesus: Zechariah and Elizabeth, who were old and barren, Mary, the young virgin maiden betrothed to Joseph, the shepherds, who were scorned and counted for nothing. It is the little ones, made great by their faith, the little ones who are able to continue to hope. Hope is the virtue of the little ones. The great ones, those who are satisfied, do not know hope; they do not know what it is.
It is the little ones with God, with Jesus, who transform the desert of exile, of desperation and loneliness, of suffering, into a level plain on which to walk in order to encounter the glory of the Lord. We have come to the ‘point’: let us be taught hope. Let us be confident as we await the coming of the Lord, and what the desert may represent in our life — each one knows what desert he or she is walking in — it will become a garden in bloom. Hope does not disappoint!