Monday, March 31, 2014

Mercy Monday: A Lowly Drudge with Piles of Papers

Greetings! Happy Mercy Monday!
So, I don't think I've put up this Divine Mercy Diary quotation yet, but I've been meaning to...(if I have and I've forgotten, please forgive me!)

“I am in Him, and He in me. As the Bishop (Rospond) was putting the ring on my finger, God pervaded my whole being, and since I cannot express that moment, I will be silent about it. 
St. Faustina, pray for us! 

My relationship with God, since perpetual vows, has been more intimate than it had ever been before. I sense that I love God and that He loves me. Having once tasted God, my soul could not live without Him. 

One hour spent at the foot of the altar in the greatest dryness of spirit is dearer to me than a hundred years of worldly pleasures. I prefer to be a lowly drudge in the convent than a queen in the world.” 
(Section 254, Notebook 1)

Honestly, St. Faustina is so cool! She truly grasps the depth and beauty of living out her vocation, united to Christ. Being a "lowly drudge in the convent" wasn't easy for St. Faustina; there were challenges and sorrows right along with the joys and blessings. But being that "lowly drudge" was far more satisfying to her than being a worldly figure. In the convent, St. Faustina lived out God's will daily, even if it wasn't all that glamorous. Because doing God's will is what fulfills us and ultimately brings the most joy to God and to us! 

Over last week and this week, I'm really trying to apply this message within my own life. It's super applicable right now. Last week, I was hurriedly working on schoolwork and going crazy, so that I could go on retreat with my household this past weekend. Retreat was awesomely fabulous! But, driving down University Boulevard on Sunday afternoon, the reality hit me hard: "Ooh, I have four papers due this week, and two of them aren't started at all!" 

Yes, even if you feel like you're always mopping floors,
you can unite yourself to God all the more!
So, this week is not super glamorous for me; just  spending quality time with my keyboard. I get to be a lowly drudge with piles of papers : ) Oh, the life of college students!  As St. Faustina showed us, being united to God in His will is the best possible option. For me, it's God's will that I write my papers to the best of my ability (even I'm pretty sure one of them is the worst paper I've ever written...) and grow in holiness through that! Plus, Jacob is being absolutely amazing at taking care of housework stuff, in order to give me time to write and research. 

Even if our daily duties aren't glamorous, if we are doing what God desires of us, He will bring us closer to Him!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Mercy Monday: Look to the Passion

From The Diary of St. Faustina:
"Remember My Passion, and if you do not
believe My words, at least believe My wounds."

During one of the adorations, Jesus promised me that With souls that have recourse to My mercy and with those that glorify and proclaim My great mercy to others, I will deal according to My infinite mercy at the hour of their death.

My Heart is sorrowful, Jesus said, because even chosen souls do not understand the greatness of My mercy. Their relationship [with Me] is, in certain ways, imbued with mistrust. Oh, how much that wounds My Heart! 
Remember My Passion, and if you do not believe My words, at least believe My wounds.

(Notebook 1, Section 370)

Monday, March 17, 2014

A Garden of Flowers

Happy St. Patrick's Day!! And Happy Mercy Monday!!!

Here's our weekly bit from the Diary! 

“O Supreme Good, I want to love You as no one on earth has ever loved You before! I want to adore You with every moment of my life and unite my will closely to Your holy will.

My life is not drab or monotonous, but it is varied like a garden of fragrant flowers, so that I don’t know which flower to pick first, the lily of suffering or the rose of love of neighbor or the violet of humility. I will not enumerate these treasures in which my every day abounds. It is a great thing to know how to make use of the present moment.”  ~St. Faustina

(Notebook 1, Section 296)

Monday, March 10, 2014

Glory be to God for Dappled Things...and Flour!

Greetings! I hope that you all are having an epic and wonderful Lent! Happy Mercy Monday!

First, I want to share with all of you a wonderful poem, written by Gerard Manley Hopkins (a Jesuit priest) which is absolutely lovely. Right now, I should be writing an explication on it...oh well!

“Pied Beauty”
            Glory be to God for dappled things— 
                 For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;  
                        For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim
            Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls, finches’ wings
                 Landscape plotted and pieced—fold, fallow, and plough 
                        And áll trádes, their gear and tackle and trim
                        All things counter, original, spare, strange
                             Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?) 
                                    With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim
                        He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change

                                                            Praise him

Without flour, there would be
no Valentine's Day Promised Land Bread! 
Earlier today, I was talking with one of my friends (who works at the Catholic gift store in downtown Steubenville) about how God is so good--for giving us flour. Yup, that dust-like white stuff that looks close to powdered sugar but is nowhere near as good. Flour! Think about. Without flour, where would the realm of food end up?

We couldn't make homemade pasta (our Mardi Gras dinner this year)...

or doughnuts.

Seriously, flour is wonderful. Just another one of those tremendous blessings from God. 

During Lent, it can be really easy to get caught up in the self-mortifications and our faults and failings. And its good to see where we are falling short, and to improve ourselves and grow in virtue. It's also true that many bad things happen, and there are many suffering people. I've heard people talk about the need to "authentically look at the human condition" and not try to breeze over sorrowful events. Don't get me wrong, there's a place for grieving. But the other day in Adoration, I was praying about the whole reality of suffering, depressing circumstances, etc. Suffering is not what strictly defines the human condition. All people have a desire for the infinite, for Someone greater (whether or not they realize it). We go through pits of suffering and Good Friday itself--but we anticipate the joy of the Resurrection! Even while we grieve or go through our rough days, we must never forget the abundant blessings that God sends to us. God puts so many joyful, wonderful people, animals, events, etc. in our paths every day as gifts, and we are ungrateful children if we ignore these presents! 

When I was young, my go-to book to read,when I would be sad or having a rough day, was Pollyanna. Why? Because the main character of the book makes a game out of finding ways to be joyful in the midst of suffering! I would read this book, and try to find things in my own life to be joyful about, even when I was having a rough day. 

God has so much mercy to pour out upon His children. So many times, we refuse to open ourselves to His love and mercy, and instead persist in our sinful lives and misery. So many times, we refuse to be healed by His love and forgiveness, because we are hurt, insecure, or want to push everything back. This Lent, open yourselves up to God's mercy--receive His love each day,living--not in the sorrows of the past--but in the present moment!

God gives us gifts--from flour to spotted butterflies. Praise Him!!!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Mercy Monday: Take Courage and Receive from the Lord!

Happy Monday!
I have to get studying up on Browning (I'm in my Victorian Period literature class), so I'll just leave the Divine Mercy post here. God bless!

“When a soul loves God sincerely, it ought not to fear anything in the spiritual life. Let it subject itself to the action of grace, and let it not impose any restraints on itself in communing with the Lord.” (Notebook 1, Section 292)

“Once the Lord said to me, Act like a beggar who does not back away when he gets more alms [than he asked for], but offers thanks the more fervently. You too, should not back away and say that you are not worthy of receiving greater graces when I give them to you. I know you are unworthy, but rejoice all the more and take as many treasures from My Heart as you can carry, for then you will please Me more. And I will tell you one more thing—take these graces not only for yourself, but also for others; that is, encourage the souls with whom you come in contact to trust in My infinite mercy. Oh, how I love those souls who have complete confidence in Me—I will do everything for them. (Notebook 1, Section 294). 

Saturday, March 1, 2014

With Lots of Caffeine and Love

Happy Saturday!
I've been up since 5:40 a.m. today, and it's been one of the best decisions ever. In fact, I'm kicking myself that I haven't done this in a while. I'm definitely running on lots of caffeine and love today...Why would I wake up at such a crazy early hour on a Saturday morning? After all, sleep is a wonderful thing. Enjoying a leisurely breakfast is a fantastic activity. Even though friends of mine sacrifice these things weekly, why should I do the same?
To stand at Calvary.
According to the great Msgr. Reilly (who I am convinced will be canonized someday!), when we travel to the abortion clinic, we do not go to judge, name-call, stare, or yell--but instead, to be with Mary and John at the foot of the Cross, as Jesus suffers in His passion. We are there to be with the babies as they die, to pray for them and their families, for healing and conversion of hearts. 

When we go to the clinic, we shouldn't just stand on the sidewalk and stare at the women as they walk in, or yell at them. Msgr. Reilly teaches a great way to be at the clinic prayerfully: standing (or kneeling) in small, inward-turned circles across the sidewalks. We really aren't supposed to turn and look at the women and the escorts; we aren't there to gawk. It's all up to God. In fact, when we are as focused as we should be, we can't tell how many women are going into the clinic or anything (the counselors tell us later). We are intercessors, praying for the healing of the women, the escorts, the abortionists, the fat
hers, the babies. We aren't there to forcefully push women away; we are there to love them and witness to the beauty of life--the counselors are the ones who walk, praying and talking with the women.
Basically, what I feel like sometimes...

Pretty much my whole freshman year, I was super-dedicated in this ministry. Every Saturday, usually on a couple hours of sleep, I'd get over to Pittsburgh with other students and pray at the clinic-wind, snow, heat, etc. Sophomore year got crazy, and I did it only a couple of times. This year, I'm sad to say that I only went to the clinic once or twice during the first semester. One of my high school religion teachers once told us the  meaning of BUSY: Being Under Satan's Yoke. Unfortunately, I have let myself become BUSY over time. And then I went today. Seriously, Jacob and I have busy schedules and lives, but I am so glad that we sacrificed to go today! And we are going to make a concerted effort to go more often.

Satan is not happy about abortion-clinic ministry, and we must persevere! 

Today, the clinic was, sadly, pretty busy. A counselor told us that quite a few younger women were going in. One of our counselors is a sweet, super nice senior girl. As she approached women, in an effort to talk with them, the abortion clinic escorts started to bang metal shovels on the ground and ice really loudly, trying to drown out the counselor's words. This particular counselor later mentioned to us that "I'm really not that scary!" Yet it seems that the escorts had some sort of fear--why else would they try to drown out her words? What were they afraid of?
The Truth.
The counselor wanted to bring forth the Truth and Love to these hurting women. The devil knows that, and he hates it! Hearing the banging and clattering of shovels while we prayed, it seems that the devil was frantically trying to stop our message. Whatever, we're not stopping anytime soon!

So the First Shift (FUS has shifts of students all day at the clinic) was a bit discouraging. We know that God reigns triumphant, but the devil was really kicking up with fury. Still, are we to lose hope? Should we worry?

Later, I got on my e-mail, and what do I see? An e-mail from Kansans for Life, titled "CONFIRMED SAVE." Even though we didn't see many fruits to our prayers and sacrifices early this morning, God was at work! Not only was He working in peoples' hearts, but He brought forth a miracle in Wichita, KS--a teenage girl deciding not to have an abortion! 

The Gospel for tomorrow (Sunday) is super fantastic, completely epic. Here's the final few lines:
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness,
and all these things will be given you besides.
Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself.
Sufficient for a day is its own evil.

Yeah, he's cool.
And soon-to be canonized!!!!
We do not need to worry or be anxious when we see the many women go into the clinic. It's super sad, and we need to bring that heavy burden to Christ. But we must rejoice as well-He has won the victory, and His truth will reign! It is so vital to live in the present moment, to be attentive to God's blessings, and to trust Him! Definitely a life-long work in progress, but we need to keep trying. And we need to stand for life. Everyone needs to pray for those affected by abortion, and people need to get out there to the clinic. We need people to stand for life. We need people to pray with Mary and John at the foot of the Cross.

"The Gospel of life is for the whole of human society. To be actively pro-life is to contribute to the renewal of society through the promotion of the common good. It is impossible to further the common good without acknowledging and defending the right to life, upon which all the other inalienable rights of individuals are founded and from which they develop."~Bl. John Paul II, Evangelium Vitae