Proclaiming Christ Crucified

“Hear now, all you who fear God, while I declare
what he has done for me.
When I appealed to him in words,
praise was on the tip of my tongue” (Psalm 66: 16-17).

While driving to an appointment to have my blood drawn this week, I caught about five minutes of Ave Maria Radio’s Dr. Ray Guarendi having a discussion with a priest about how the understanding of Salvation differs between Catholics and Protestants (the “saved by faith, not works” error).

Just as I was pulling up to the blood lab, Dr. Guarendi posed a question to the audience that went something like, “If Jesus asked you right now why you should go to Heaven, what would you say?”

Wanting to know the genuineness of my heart, I turned off the car with expectation, eager to hear aloud what my answer might be.

With joy, my answer flowed out of me like a river down a mountain with the power to create a gorge below.  Using my smart phone I spoke, and later listened to the convictions of my soul:

“Because I love You.”

“You’re beautiful.  Breathtaking.  You breathed life into me.

You let me feel Your Presence after waiting so long for me to turn to You.  When I realized I was nothing without You, You showed up.  Just like that.

You sent your Spirit to teach me, and in between, You healed Me.  You answered my prayers and didn’t leave me.  You still answer my prayers every day.  You speak to me through others and give me light to know it’s You.  When I adore You, I receive Your Wisdom and Understanding, even if for a moment.  You let me understand and accept when You say “no,” and you smile with me when You say “yes!”

I see You in the person You created to be my husband and am amazed how his inner and outer beauty came from within Your Sacred Heart as You created him.

You give me Your beauty to think about, to dream of, to live by, to gather and give to others, and now I see that beauty in other souls.

You changed my heart.

I’m able to learn from Your lessons in humility and can thank You instead of cowering; smoldering.

Lord, You know I want to see you and spend Eternity with You.  I want to say, “I love you” Face to face, because You are the beauty I long for each morning and the peace I sleep with each night. The thought of not spending forever with you makes me shudder and crumble.

Mercy. You are so merciful and kind. If I were to fall at the last moment of my life, I know You’d give me one moment more to tell You I’m sorry and you’d forgive me with Your open Heart of Love.  

I’m so grateful You allowed me to have a friendship with You while still on earth; while still young enough to enjoy living the miracle of it.  Today I understand You to the extent that I can today and I have confidence that tomorrow it will increase by Your Grace and my perseverance.”

I left my car and went into the lab with the fire of the Holy Spirit and sat down in what I always call, “the blood seat.”

“Which arm do you want me to use?” the nurse asked.

I’ve had blood draws more times in the last ten years than I’ve had my entire life and they’ve never bothered me in the least.  But this time, still thinking about our Lord, my thoughts turned to His Blood.  I thought about the Roman soldiers scourging Him and the immense pain He endured.  And here I was going to get one little needle prick and was feeling uneasy.  “Lord,” I prayed…this time I offer up these three vials of blood for You and for what You endured for me.”  In went the needle and it BURNED and HURT like never before and seemed to go on forever.  [Be careful what you pray for!]

When the needle was out and the nurse was labeling the vials, I looked up and noticed a small sign in front of me that read, LET YOUR PHLEBOTOMIST KNOW IF YOU HAVE AN ALLERGY TO LATEX.

The nurse asked if I was ok. Through my tears, I blurted, “The soldiers beat Jesus and tortured Him and then crucified Him, and never once did they give him a chance to let His phlebotomists know whether He was allergic to latex.”

She chuckled, but though amusing I chose not to partake, and dried my tears.  Her face changed and she said, “I love Jesus too.”

I left the office wondering what her list might sound like out loud, but then realized that was between her and the same Christ who loves her just as large as He loves me.

e.

***

“When I came to you, brothers and sisters, I did not come proclaiming the mystery of God to you in lofty words or wisdom.  For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and him crucified.  And I came to you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling.  My speech and my proclamation were not with plausible words of wisdom, but with a demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might rest not on human wisdom but on the power of God.”
(1 Corinthians 2:1-5)

What is Divine Mercy?

Today is Divine Mercy Sunday  – Second Sunday of Easter

The message of The Divine Mercy is simple. It is that God loves us – all of us. And, he wants us to recognize that His mercy is greater than our sins, so that we will call upon Him with trust, receive His mercy, and let it flow through us to others. Thus, all will come to share His joy.

The Divine Mercy message is one we can call to mind simply by remembering ABC:

A – Ask for His Mercy. God wants us to approach Him in prayer constantly, repenting of our sins and asking Him to pour His mercy out upon us and upon the whole world.

B – Be merciful. God wants us to receive His mercy and let it flow through us to others. He wants us to extend love and forgiveness to others just as He does to us.

C – Completely trust in Jesus. God wants us to know that the graces of His mercy are dependent upon our trust. The more we trust in Jesus, the more we will receive.

This message and devotion to Jesus as The Divine Mercy is based on the writings of Saint Faustina Kowalska, an uneducated Polish nun who, in obedience to her spiritual director, wrote a diary of about 600 pages recording the revelations she received about God’s mercy. Even before her death in 1938, the devotion to The Divine Mercy had begun to spread.

The message and devotional practices proposed in the Diary of Saint Faustina and set forth in this web site and other publications of the Marians of the Immaculate Conception are completely in accordance with the teachings of Church and are firmly rooted in the Gospel message of our Merciful Savior. Properly understood and implemented, they will help us grow as genuine followers of Christ.

Spend time to learn more about the mercy of God, learn to trust in Jesus, and live your life as merciful to others, as Christ is merciful to you.

“Holiness is a Beautiful Struggle.” – Mother Angelica

My favorite of Raymond Arroyo’s books is “Mother Angelica’s Little Book of Life Lessons and Everyday Spirituality.”   It’s one of those books that as I read it now, can understand better what I experienced when I first returned to God twelve years ago.  My hope is that others will stumble upon this book and come to befriend Jesus through Mother’s miraculous works; will come to know Him on a deeper level through the Wisdom He gave her; will pick up the books waiting on their e-reader or bookshelves and devour them for the miracles they hold; for the miracles they are.  There are miracles all around us if we just open our eyes.  So if you’re looking for a miracle, here’s an easy one.

Since her death this past Easter Sunday, many of us are taking a closer look at Mother through her writings.  For me, this book is just a start…

“A Christian does not strain after God the way one seeks a lost object, he merely becomes more and more aware of what he already possesses.”  – Mother Angelica

Purify Us

Psalm 51 was recently given to me as my penance after a confession heard by a young visiting priest to our church. “What is Psalm 51?” I asked.

He said, simply, “It is beautiful.”  He shared with me that he always adds this Psalm to whatever penance he is given during his own confessions.

He explained that it allows us to acknowledge that we are sinners, “Wipe out my offense. Thoroughly wash me from my guilt and of my sins cleanse me.”

It teaches us that by denying sin, we separate ourselves from God’s many graces which we need to become closer to Him.  But by recognizing our sins and being truly sorry for them, “with a heart contrite and humbled,” He will never reject us.

It gives us the opportunity to ask Him to stay close to us, despite our faults, “Cast me not out from your presence, and your Holy Spirit take not from me.”

During this time of Lenten fasting and praying, we are reaching into Psalm 51 and asking God to purify us, “A clean heart create for me, O God.”

When we ask for His forgiveness, we exchange our weakness for strength, “A steadfast spirit renew within me” and we exchange our remorse for the greatest of His graces, true peace and happiness.

Elizabeth