Friday, December 30, 2011

Chosen Lights

In St. Faustina's Diary (Notebook VI, #1601) Jesus tells her that "Chosen souls are, in My Hand, lights which I cast into the darkness of the world and with which I illuminate it. As stars illumine the night, so chosen souls illumine the earth. And the more perfect the soul is, the stronger and more far reaching is the light shed by it. It can be hidden and unknown, even to those closest to it, and yet its holiness is reflected in souls even to the most distant extremities of the world."

How are we lights for others? Are there times when we might feel that the very people we hope to influence are not stirred? I think Jesus is trying to tell us that we need to worry less about who we are trying to lead to holiness and let Him work through us, thus influencing people we may not even know. We must trust that Jesus loves each of us immeasurably and loves those in our circle of friends and family more than we can love ourselves. Trust in Him. His greatest desire is that all will come to know Him. It is our vocation as disciples to love. When we perfect love ourselves, through and with His Divine Mercy and assistance, we will be that beacon of light which leads others to Him.

As we look forward to the New Year, let us pray to be one of His chosen lights. As we reflect on how we can learn to love as Jesus loves--let us pray for the strength and courage to be a light for those living in darkness. To do that though, we must be willing to allow Jesus to work in us. How can we open our hearts to His Love more perfectly so that we may be reflections of His Love? Jesus, come into our hearts and allow the flame of your love to burn brightly within us!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

New Year's Resolutions

As I sit and think about all the changes I would like to make in my life as the clock runs down on 2011, I am reminded of one simple fact. If I could only more closely focus on becoming the holy person God desires me to be, all of the bad habits that lead me astray would vanish. Wouldn't that be true for all of us? Becoming more virtuous means leaving behind the sins that lead us astray. Think about it:

Need to lose weight? Become fit or exercise more? Drop addictive habits that waste time and resources? Let go of the sins of indulgence and slothfulness and pray to grow in the virtues of temperance and prudence.

Need to focus more on your family and less on chasing after titles and accomplishments? Pray to grow in the virtues of charity, fortitude, and justice.

Need to focus on the future and not dwell in despair at a future that seems bleak? Pray for the virtues of hope and faith and know that God desires only the best for you and to prove it He gave His only Son for your sake.

Trust in Jesus. Know that He knows your every need and desires nothing but what will make you happy. Trust that He actually knows what is best for you and as we enter into 2012 make this your only resolution: to become closer to Him through an ever-deepening prayer life that includes private prayer, worship in a community, and reception of His Most Sacred Body and Blood. The fruits that this life will bear out will be beyond your expectations--for you will know joy, peace, love, patience, and more!

God loves you more than you can imagine. Trust fully in Him and as our Blessed Mother reminds us, "Do whatever He tells you."

Monday, December 26, 2011

The Price of Faith

The feast days following Christmas are significant to those desiring a deeper relatioship with the Lord. First we celebrate St. Stephen, the first martyr of the early Christian community. He is the first to die for Christ and sees a vision of the Savior as he is being persecuted (Acts 6 & 7).

On the 27th we celebrate the feast of St. John--willing to die for his faith but lived to a natural death. Known as the 'One whom Jesus loved' (John 19:26-27), John the Evangelist gave his entire life to Christ.

December 28th celebrates the feast of the Holy Innocents--this children slaughtered by Herod in his attempt to eradicate the child Savior. These children died because the infant King among them may have posed a threat to Herod's power (Matthew 2:13-19).

How do these feasts challenge us today? First--we must be willing to lay down our very life for the Lord--keeping His Glory in our sights at all times, just like St. Stephen. Then we must dedicate our lives fully to doing the Will of God, regardless of the cost. While we may not physically lose our lives as did St. Stephen, we are called to give our lives over to the work God has laid out for us. Following the example of St. John, who at Christ's command from the cross, took our Blessed Mother into his care. We are called to be innocent--to be pure and not buy into the fear that rises up when we feel threatened. God's power is merciful and forgiving--unconditional love.

Let us reflect on these three feasts as we enter into the New Year--called to proclaim the Good News of the Gospel to a world so desperately seeking Truth, Love, and Hope!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Something New

While I like to write--I have never ventured into 'blogging.' We'll see how this goes. You may wonder why I picked the name I did for the blog. After trying several names, which obviously were also very popular, I came upon this title, which was not taken yet. Funny--it was suggested to me not too long ago that I take a bit deeper look at connecting with these two!

The 'two' are Edith Stein and Faustina Kowalska--both saints of the Roman Catholic Church. One a brilliant feminist writer, doctor, lecturer, and atheist turned Carmelite who was martyred at Auschwitz. The other, a rather simple woman from Poland, entered into religious life, through her deep faith had personal encounters with Christ, which led her to proclaim in a profound way the message of His Divine Mercy, and who died of tuberculosis while still young.

Both women have had major influences on the Church. Both have messages that are as important today as the world in which they lived. Ironically--both lived in Europe during the tumultuous times of World War I and early World War II. Both, in their own ways, spoke a message the world desperately needed to hear. That message is one that still rings true today.

Edith spent her life searching for Truth. Faustina spent her life plumbing the depths of Christ's Mercy. Both lead to Love, which is God.

I hope over time to break open their message--for it is a message of hope for all of us today as we seek happiness and love.