Jesus will show you the way

The suffering in your life can yield great treasures. It is possible to find gifts in the ashes, treasures in the flames. But don’t worry about that now. Jesus himself will show you where the gold lies. You only need to hold on to him, to lean in your weakness on his power, to trust in your poverty on his bountiful love. Lay your head down on his heart and rest as a little child sleeps in his or her parent’s arms.

From the book Making Peace with Yourself 

6 – How to get power over the power of your thoughts

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-4bf7a-9c0c01

Have you ever awoken in the night with terrible thoughts about things you’ve done in the past, even when you were a child? Thoughts can go around and around like a hamster in the wheel. The Evil One can instigate over and over again our returning to memories of past weakness and faults, so that we never entirely move on. Thoughts can keep us intent upon looking at ourselves. God asks us to look at what he is doing, what he is saying, what he is desiring. God says, “Look at my wounds. Look at my love for you.” That is what is true. That is what is real. We explore the thought of Elder Thaddeus on how our life depends on the kinds of thoughts we nurture.

How do I overcome fear? Meditation on the precious Blood of Jesus

My friend, upon whom God’s unmerited favor and spiritual peace has descended in Jesus Christ!

Whoever you are, I welcome you. With all your joys and fears and resistance and desires. With your longing for peace with God and harmony, inner unity, and spiritual serenity…

Just today I was inspired to pray in adoration to the Most Blessed Blood of Jesus and was led to a prayer written by St Albert the Great. Let me share it with you:

I adore You, O Precious Blood of Jesus, flower of creation, fruit of virginity, ineffable instrument of the Holy Spirit, and I rejoice at the thought that You came from the drop of virginal blood on which eternal Love impressed its movement; You were assumed by the Word and deified in His person. I am overcome with emotion when I think of Your passing from the Blessed Virgin’s heart into the heart of the Word and, being vivified by the breath of the Divinity, becoming adorable because You became the Blood of God.

I adore You enclosed in the veins of Jesus, preserved in His humanity like the manna in the golden urn, the memorial of the eternal Redemption which He accomplished during the days of His earthly life.

I adore You, Blood of the new, eternal Testament, flowing from the veins of Jesus in Gethsemane, from His flesh torn by scourges in the Praetorium, from His pierced hands and feet and from His opened side on Golgotha.

I adore You in the Sacraments, in the Eucharist, where I know You are substantially present.

I place my trust in You, O adorable Blood, our Redemption, our regeneration. Fall, drop by drop, into the hearts that have wandered from You and soften their hardness.

O adorable Blood of Jesus, wash our stains, save us from the anger of the avenging angel. Irrigate the Church; make her fruitful with Apostles and miracle-workers, enrich her with souls that are holy, pure and radiant with divine beauty. Amen

The words in italics from this astounding prayer struck me this morning in a way that I had never been impressed before. St Albert says that he is overcome with emotion thinking that this blood of Jesus passed from Mary’s heart into the heart of the Word, the Divine Person of the Logos. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches (no. 466ff.), “everything in Christ’s human nature is to be attributed to his divine person as its proper subject…Christ’s human nature belongs, as his own, to the divine person of the Son of God.”

Thus, St Albert states, eternal Love impressed its movement on the virginal blood of Mary, which was assumed by the Word and deified in His person…becoming adorable because it became the very Blood of God.

So what does this mean for you and for me, my friends? After a recent article I noticed a comment with the question, “How do I go about letting go of fear?” My friend, all that St Albert says in this prayer says one thing to us that is truth: our very human nature has been taken up into the divine person of the Word of God.

O most precious blood of Jesus, I adore You enclosed in the veins of Jesus, preserved in His humanity like the manna in the golden urn, the memorial of the eternal Redemption which He accomplished during the days of His earthly life.

We intentionally and affectively say “YES” to that dynamic movement in the best way we can. But we live now hidden with Christ in God because our human nature has been associated with the divine nature and can never be separated. The essence of our redemption lies in the lifting up of human nature into the everlasting communion with the divine life which was realized by Christ’s redeeming work.  The Incarnation then is the union of the divine majesty with human frailty and therefore the ultimate redemptive act of God.

We can be confident, then, that Jesus lives on as true God and true Man, bearing in his divine Person the pain we each suffer in our humanity which he associated to himself through the incarnation. Our worries, our sufferings, the drama of pain and abuse and failure and discouragement and powerlessness and need…. He willingly bears the full impact of our suffering and pain from the injustices received through the sin and failure of others. Jesus cares for each of us as he cares for his own Body, restoring us in hidden or obvious ways in resurrected glory.

O most precious blood of Jesus, I adore You in the Sacraments, in the Eucharist, where I know You are substantially present.

I place my trust in You, O adorable Blood, our Redemption, our regeneration. 

So we can remind Jesus:

I am yours. You are mine. I am totally your care and responsibility. You have taken me up in the Ascension to a place in the heavens where you are seated at the right hand of God. I can’t understand this. I can’t comprehend a wonder so mighty. But in this you ARE the way for me, taking on human nature and bestowing upon it the fullness of grace, making it capable of ascending to God. You ARE truth, teaching me that to be truly human is to be in you knit to your divinity. You ARE life, my only life, my only hope, my only drink. my only grace, my only nourishment. Your Incarnation empowers me to live as Christ, to love as Christ, to serve as Christ and to be one with Christ.

O precious blood of Jesus, make our souls holy, pure and radiant with divine beauty. Amen.

Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Mid-Life

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-ipwfc-9c0bc7

In the dining room of our house is an unassuming image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus embroidered by my grandmother. I can’t remember a time when it hasn’t graced the walls of our home. Beneath it is a simple glass shelf, a small votive candle, and a pamphlet about the Enthronement of the Sacred Heart in the home.

Another image of the Sacred Heart stands out from my childhood. In St. James Church, our parish, to the right of the main altar was a marble statue of the Sacred Heart. I often would stand before the Sacred Heart of Jesus and pray, and lighting candles there was special, especially as a child. Even today when I return home for vacation, I stop to pray before this statue when I make my Hour of Adoration in the church each morning.

In my teenage years I read The Imitation of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. From what I remember, each chapter of the book developed one of the virtues of the Sacred Heart of Jesus that we could imitate in our own life. The text was structured in the form of a conversation between the disciple and Jesus. When I read the book I could “hear” Jesus speaking to me.

Those are beautiful memories. Today in my fifties, however, after half-a-lifetime or more of relationships, problems, dreams, the joy of giving life and love to others, disillusionments, sorrows, my devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus is very different. Today I talk about ways in which someone in their fifties lives their love for Jesus and their devotion to his most Sacred Heart.

A blessing when one trusts

Unbeknownst to him, the Lord was not asking Abraham for his son’s life. It was Abraham’s life that the Lord still wanted, Abraham’s trust that he still had not received. Abraham, the Lord was asking, can you let me take your life into my hands? Will you entrust your entire life and future unconditionally to me, now when it seems everything has ended? “I will indeed bless you, and I will make your offspring as numerous as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore” (Gen 22:17).

From the book Making Peace with Yourself

God asks us to trust

Unbeknownst to him, the Lord was not asking Abraham for his son’s life. It was Abraham’s life that the Lord still wanted, Abraham’s trust that he still had not received. Abraham, the Lord was asking, can you let me take your life into my hands? Will you entrust your entire life and future unconditionally to me, now when it seems everything has ended? “I will indeed bless you, and I will make your offspring as numerous as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore” (Gen 22:17).

From the book Making Peace with Yourself

5 – When you feel you can’t move on you’re not alone

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-4xp3m-9c0ba6

The woman bent double who was healed by Jesus is our guide today. What was she thinking all of those years, about herself, about life, about others as she waited all those years for a miracle. She teaches us who may feel the same way, that we are not alone. Our lives are woven into this huge tapestry of love and mercy and compassion. In some place we are also like looking for healing. We may have an illness, a disappointment, a failure, a secret we haven’t told anyone, family expectations. Our discussion looks at how we can move beyond the point of accepting that nothing can change, that this is all there is. It is easy to do, but it costs so much. It is the face of Jesus, the call of Jesus, even today, that heals…. It is from Jesus that we learn who we really are. We learn to stop writing our own stories we feel comfortable living with. Jesus shows us how to emerge from the stories we are telling ourselves about our lives, our past and disappointments, our future.

4 – Nothing is ever lost – St Peter’s lesson for us

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-9sb78-9c0b38

St Peter guides us in our own journey of finding peace in our lives, even after our own regrets. We discuss the power of our own self-image and failure. Peter shows us how to be courageous in following Jesus no matter what devastating losses and disappointments we have lived in our own lives. Peter shows us that failure is a part of our journey to finding Jesus and his tremendous love. Regrets are devastating on many levels, but they are in some way our history in learning our own place in relationship to Jesus and our own place in salvation history. Nothing is ever lost.

God’s plan for you

Abraham was available to God’s voice when it came. When God asked him to get up and move, he did so. He didn’t project his fears into the plan based on his experiences of the past. He simply moved where he was called, trusting that the God who was with him in the present, would be with him in each present moment of the future. You are important enough for God to speak with also. God is speaking with you. Being present to each moment and to your inner truth in each moment is the first step in hearing God’s voice. God’s plan for you will always be a blessing, both on you and on others.

From the book Surviving Depression

How to find eternity hidden in your heart

My fellow pilgrim through life, living before the Lord in love, Blessings!

?For everything there is a season…. He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.  I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live; also that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil—this is God’s gift to man (Ecclesiastes 3: 1, 11-13).

What courage to trust eternity hidden in our hearts, the eternal that flows through the seasons of our life. Sometimes I have clung so strongly to what I have built that I wasn’t able to receive this eternal blessing in my own life. Let me explain:

I’m a religious sister, so, you could say, spirituality is an important part of my life.

I’ve always reached for the best in anything I did, and the same is true of “the spiritual life.” In fact, in my younger years, I pursued it with a vengeance.

So I prayed extra. I created schedules for spiritual reading. I tried to imitate the saints. I made lists in my journal of anything that could distract me from a single-minded devotion to God…or so I thought.

One year I was making the 19th Annotated Retreat with a Jesuit Director at Boston College. Each evening I sent an email with a short paragraph about my prayer that day. I struggled through the first month or so, treading water in what were my ideas of spirituality. It was a rocky start to a retreat in everyday life I had hoped would bring me closer to God.

Looking back now I realize how self-willed the exercise had been. The sense of inner violence that was marring my soul’s surface was painful as I tried yet one more spiritual practice. Then one day something changed. I can’t exactly remember the prayer experience I shared with my director which prompted him to send these words in response, but I will never forget what he told me. Somehow, that day, I must have yielded to grace, and he wrote in response to my evening email, “This is the Spirit. The Spirit is a gentle breeze, like perfume on the wind, a light fragrance you can barely catch.”

I remember sitting in my office, deflated and free. The years of soapbox speeches and accumulating spiritual kudos had not been “of the Spirit.” The self-styled aggressive pursuit of holiness actually had kept me from the inner life of the Spirit, kept me from living within.

The Apostle Paul was also a professional religious person whose spirit before the encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus was marred with aggression. He rounded up the followers of the Way to put them in jail. Zealously he pursued his plans and religious career. Just outside the city of Damascus, he was met by Love. “I am Jesus the One you are persecuting.”

In an instant, he realized how wrong he had been. This Jesus that he had rejected as dead, was alive. The community he had persecuted were the ones who had truly understood the action of God in history.

This “conversion” experience is the freedom that arises from no longer knowing, having one’s plans overturned, becoming the servant instead of the protagonist, moving from autonomous isolation to community interdependence. “Go in the city and there you will be told what you are to do.” Though Paul had pursued perfection as a Pharisee, he had not lived within. He suddenly touched the immense horizons of the life within that were being opened up to him as he walked into the city of Damascus, blind and led by his companions.

Something that both I and St Paul didn’t ask in our early heady days of religious “conquest” was this: is God in all of this bluster? Do I want to see his face or my own?

God wants to shower on us the radiance of his glory. He wants to draw us into his plans for the salvation of the world. To convert us from our surface life to the deep inner wells of spirit, from pride to wonder, from zealous aggression to sensitive discernment, from certainty to the inner depth that can sense the slightest movement within without needing to know.

If you want this inner life, here is a simple practice you can make your own:

  1. Stop and focus. Calmly center. Ask yourself: What am I feeling right now?
  2. Disengage from any strong opinions and emotionally driven behaviors.
  3. Ask: Where is God in this situation? Pray: “Show me your face, O Lord. Show me your face.”
  4. Imagine God watching you as a dear old grandparent watches a grandchild. With that type of love, hear God speaking to you about what is going on.
  5. God says, “Dear child, this is what I see when I look at you. (Listen as God describes the situation from his perspective and what he sees is your reality.) I hear your heart’s desire…. I can hear what you are thinking…. (Let God tell you from his perspective what he hears.) I want you to know, dear one, that I care about what happens to you. I have plans for you. I understand this event more than you could ever know. This is what I want for you… (Open yourself to God’s wisdom. Have the courage to see the situation through God’s eyes, and to want what God wants.)

Youth is a time for building our identities, trying things out, learning what works for us and what doesn’t. But when the moment comes when God’s face begins to show us what the world looks like in God’s eyes, we can let go of much of what we’ve built up on the outside to begin a new journey, gently deepening our inner life.