Sunday, April 8, 2018

Divine Mercy


If you've never been to the Divine Mercy Shrine in Stockbridge, MA it is well worth seeing. I was blessed with the opportunity of visiting the national shrine more than once when my uncle's family lived in the area. It is a very peaceful place, one conducive to prayer and rest with perpetual adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. The church itself is designed with detailed woodwork and stained glass windows, the grounds are beautiful MA countryside where you can find life-size stations of the cross, and there are even candle grottos and a gift shop. It is a wonderful place of pilgrimage, particularly for the feast of Divine Mercy today.

What I like about the Divine Mercy devotion is the emphasis on trust in God. We can all find reasons for worrying about something in our lives that are not going quite the way we would like, but today's feast reminds us that God is in control and we can rely completely on His providence. 

St. Faustina said: “Great love can change small things into great ones, and it is only love which lends value to our actions. And the purer our love becomes, the less there will be within us for the flames of suffering to feed upon, and the suffering will cease to be a suffering for us; it will become a delight! By the grace of God, I have received such a disposition of heart that I am never so happy as when I suffer for Jesus, whom I love with every beat of my heart.” 

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Easter Triumph


Easter and Christmas are both such special times of year. I think the biggest difference between the two is Christmas has more of a note of sweetness and joy, whereas Easter has the feeling of triumph. There is something particularly triumphant about celebrating the Resurrection. Christ has the victory over sin and death and we are given the hope of everlasting life.

I love this quote by St. John Chrysostom: "O Death, where is your sting? O Hell, where is your victory? Christ is risen, and you are overthrown. Christ is risen, and the demons are fallen. Christ is risen, and the angels rejoice. Christ is risen, and life reigns. Christ is risen, and not one dead remains in the grave. For Christ, being risen from the dead, is become the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. To Him be glory and dominion unto ages of ages."

While the spiritual side is the most important of the feast, I do love Easter traditions such as dyeing eggs, egg hunts, and of course the chocolate bunnies. The same as any holiday, Easter is that special time to be with family and friends. Blessed Easter!

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Easy Corn Casserole


Are you looking for a simple dish that tastes gourmet? This is a great one for the holidays that everyone will think you gave blood, sweat, and tears in making, but really you only had a couple minutes to get something together! Only 5 ingredients!

~ 1 box of Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix
~ 1 frozen package of corn
~ 1 can of creamed corn
~ 2/3 cup of vegetable oil
~ 2 T brown sugar

Mix ingredients together. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-55 minutes in a 9x11 pan. Top should brown slightly and knife come out clean when finished. Enjoy! And watch your friends and family compliment you for all your "hard" work. :-)

Sunday, March 18, 2018

A Saint for All Needs


There is no saint quite like St. Joseph to pray to for any special intention. St. Teresa of Avila said: "I wish I could persuade everyone to be devoted to this glorious saint for I have great experience of the blessings which he can obtain from God. I have never known anyone to be truly devoted to him and render him particular services who did not notably advance in virtue for he gives very real help to souls who commend themselves to him."

I just wanted to share this devotion of a 30 Day Prayer to St. Joseph. I have never known it to fail!

"Ever blessed and glorious St. Joseph, kind and loving father, and helpful friend of all in sorrow! Thou art the good father and protector of orphans, the defender of the defenseless, the patron of those in need and sorrow. Look kindly on my request. My sins have drawn down on me the just displeasure of my God, and so I am surrounded with unhappiness. To thee, loving guardian of the Family of Nazareth, do I go for help and protection. Listen, then, I beg thee, with fatherly concern, to my earnest prayers, and obtain for me the favors I ask. I ask it by the infinite mercy of the eternal Son of God, which moved Him to take our nature and to be born into this world of sorrow. I ask it by the weariness and suffering thou didst endure when thou didst find no shelter at the inn of Bethlehem for the Holy Virgin, nor a house where the Son of God could be born. Then, being everywhere refused, thou hadst to allow the Queen of Heaven to give birth to the world's Redeemer in a cave. I ask it by the loveliness and power of that sacred Name, Jesus, which thou didst confer on the adorable Infant. I ask it by the painful torture thou didst feel at the prophecy of holy Simeon, which declared the Child Jesus and His holy Mother future victims of our sins and of their great love for us. I ask it through thy sorrow and pain of soul when the angel declared to thee that the life of the Child Jesus was sought by His enemies. From their evil plan, thou hadst to flee with Him and His Blessed Mother to Egypt. I ask it by all the suffering, weariness, and labors of that long and dangerous journey. I ask it by all thy care to protect the Sacred Child and His Immaculate Mother during thy second journey, when thou wert ordered to return to thine own country. I ask it by thy peaceful life in Nazareth where thou didst meet with so many joys and sorrows. I ask it by thy great distress when the adorable Child was lost to thee and His Mother for three days. I ask it by thy joy at finding Him in the temple, and by the comfort thou didst find at Nazareth, while living in the company of the Child Jesus. I ask it by the wonderful submission He showed in His obedience to thee. I ask it by the perfect love and conformity thou didst show in accepting the Divine order to depart from this life, and from the company of Jesus and Mary. I ask it by the joy which filled thy soul, when the Redeemer of the world, triumphant over death and hell, entered into the possession of His kingdom and led thee into it with special honors. I ask it through Mary's glorious Assumption, and through that endless happiness thou hast with her in the presence of God. O good father! I beg thee, by all thy sufferings, sorrows, and joys, to hear me and obtain for me what I ask. (mention your petitions) Obtain for all those who have asked my prayers everything that is useful to them in the plan of God. Finally, my dear patron and father, be with me and all who are dear to me in our last moments, that we may eternally sing the praises of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. A blameless life, St. Joseph, may we lead, by thy kind patronage from danger freed. Amen."

Sunday, March 11, 2018

True Joy


The Fourth Sunday of Lent, Laetare Sunday, reminds us of the fruit of the Holy Ghost--joy. Joy is a pure gift from God. We can practice charity or experience peace, but the idea of joy and happiness is something God fills us with because it comes from Himself. Joy and goodness go together. As God is all-good, He is the ultimate object of our desires, and we are truly happy when seeking Him.

There is a difference between "feeling happy" and true joy that is supernatural, and that supernatural joy comes from fulfilling God's will in our lives. When we are completely open to God acting in our lives, He takes care of everything for us. For He desires us to be happy more than we want to be happy. 

Joy is also lasting. It may seem like a contradiction in terms, but I think when you are sad it is still possible to experience joy. Because even when we are going through tough times, we can still hold onto the hope and happiness of union with God, which more often than not is achieved through suffering well. 

I've always liked this quote: "Serve the Lord with laughter" by St. Padre Pio. It is a much fuller life to take each experience great or small with a smile.


Sunday, March 4, 2018

Paradise


Everyone has a favorite vacation spot, either a place to return to year after year to make memories or a place that of itself creates a sense of peace and relaxation. Now nothing is permanent here on earth, but I do think there are places that God has made that give us a foretaste of paradise.

That paradise for me is without a doubt the ocean. There is something so majestic about the waves and the immensity of it all. There's a whole world beneath those waters that I'll probably never see in person because I doubt I'll ever scuba dive. There's nothing to compare the sound of the rolling waves to or the soft sands or the ocean breeze or the setting sun. If it was possible to find a heaven on earth, the beach would be it for me.

I love the idea that there really can be a "happy place" you can go to. God has created so much beauty around us that taking little trips reminds us that we can find that at home too. But there's nothing like having a favorite vacation spot that makes you realize there's so much to enjoy in life.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Beatitudo


Beatitudo, or perfect happiness, is a concept I learned in a philosophy class once. For life has many ups and downs, hellos and goodbyes, and good and bad days, but there is something that lies beneath all that where we can find peace and joy. 

The Catholic Encyclopedia discusses: "Beatitudo, perfect happiness, complete well-being, is to be attained not in this life, but in the next. Primarily, it consists in the activity of man's highest cognitive faculty, the intellect, in the contemplation of God — the infinitely Beautiful. But this immediately results in the supreme delight of the will in the conscious possession of the Summum Bonum, God, the infinitely good."

While beatitudo is something fully possessed in Heaven, we have a foretaste of it on earth, and it is this very concept that transcends the sufferings of life. The possession of God carries us through and allows us to be truly happy no matter what storms shake us. 

I think too that this possession of God extends to other people. For we see God in those around us--those closest to us, and so our happiness comes not only from God but the people He puts in our life. We in turn can be a source of joy to those same people.

So in what does perfect happiness consist? And how can we find it on earth amidst suffering? Blessed Margaret d’Youville says: "All the wealth in the world cannot be compared with the happiness of living together happily united." The key is union--our souls in union with God and our hearts in union with friends. Because one can only truly be happy by giving oneself to another, or rather that true joy shines the brightest in sacrifice and love.