washed clean

Hi Again!

During these crazy times, access to the sacraments have been scarce. We’ve had to adapt to streamed masses, reserving spots for mass online ( if your quick enough!) and a whole lot of hand sanitizer….. Let’s just say, it hasn’t been easy.

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But there is something that has brought me (and perhaps you, too?!) A LOT of peace and comfort during the past months and that is:

Confession!

Confession has been the one sacrament that has been relatively easy to receive during the chaos of Covid-19. I don’t know about your experience, but we could make appointments with our parish priest anytime and every Saturday morning from 11:00-12:00 there was “drive through” confession!

I found so much solace in the sacrament of Reconciliation, because it was the closest I could get to Jesus when our masses weren’t taking place.

The Lord knows how painful these times have been and still are. He wants us to receive him again through the Holy Eucharist. He wants to be united, heart to heart. But if we are unable to go to mass, don’t forget to encounter Jesus in confession, as well ! It is a powerful encounter where Jesus himself, through the priest, can heal all our sins, anxieties, mistakes, fears and missed opportunities to love.

I can testify to the power of this healing and life giving encounter with Jesus through confession! Every time I went to confession during the “pandemic”, Jesus was speaking so clearly through the priest about my heart and the areas that needed deep conversion. That kind of realization is humbling, but I drove away every time feeling more loved, joyful, peaceful, motivated and light. It’s a feeling you cannot buy, and one that comes only from the healing touch of Jesus our Saviour.

God bless you all!

lights in the world.

 The lives that change the world so much,

are ones that live in love.

Committed to pure charity,  

their eyes are fixed above. 

Not set on what this world can give, 

They seem to stand apart.

A gentle peace and humbleness,

Comes reigning from their heart. 

Their source of strength and guiding light,

Of which they move towards,

Is He who was and who will be, 

Their Saviour and their Lord.

 

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Sharing in the Psalms

So I don’t believe in coincidences, or fate, or luck, but I do believe in the Holy Spirit, and that’s who arranged the blessing of today. Allow me to explain!

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We are Beloved Children of the King! Let us never forget. Though this photo when taken in “healthier times”, its a reminder to always hope in the Lord! He is our sustainer and our stronghold!

Earlier this afternoon I had two separate conversations with women very dear to my heart. They are women whom I trust, who support me, who encourage me, and most of all, who love me! In our chats, I opened up about how I am feeling/doing these days. At the moment I feel a lot of things (mostly health problems) are piling up on my shoulders and weighing me down. I suppose you could say my faith is being tested a little, or I’m just not learning the lesson of surrendering to God… so I keep getting new opportunities to do so. Yay? Being stubborn is not always a good thing. Maybe its never a good thing? Still not sure about that….

Anyways, these are both women of God and they were able to encourage me at a faith level. This is exactly what I needed and both of them said the same thing:

“Why don’t you read and meditate on the Psalms?”


They challenged me to really live and pray with the Psalms during this heavy time. The Psalmists are often lamenting and crying out to God for his help, his protection, his mercy. So if the Psalmists are so free in their prayer, why aren’t I?

So, I did it. I opened my bible to the Pslams and started reading. The verses that struck me the most today were actually from the very beginning. Pslam 1: 1-3:

 

“Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seats of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he mediates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers”

 

Isn’t this imagery wonderful! We can be that tree- soaking up the graces of the Lord, and not withering away in despair or sadness (as I am so often tempted to do). In these streams of life and hope, we can be renewed both in body and spirit, and yield fruit. I guess it isn’t a calling to plant fruit trees on my balcony this summer ( although that would be lovely), but he wants to help us (me) grow in the virtues; in love, in charity, in patience, in humility, in perseverance!

red and yellow coffee berries on branch

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I think I am going to start reading the Psalms each day. Maybe I’ll share a few more of the verses that speak to my heart as this journey in the Psalms continue.

What are the verse(s) that speak to you?! I would love to hear how you live with the Psalms right now. Let us encourage one another in faith & hope!

 

Whoops!

Baking Tip # 1: Never let dough (containing yeast) thaw overnight with the lid on! Waking up to this doughy-monster-mess on my counter, was hilarious. It looks like it grew legs overnight and tried to walk away! So much for my perfect buns for breakfast….

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Baking Tip #2: When making black bean burgers, be sure to use black beans!! I kept telling my husband I was making these delicious black bean burgers, but used kidney beans the whole time. It wasn’t until they were in the oven that I realized I had used the wrong beans!

Sometimes the whole cooking/baking world can be harsh. You check out a nice recipe on Pinterest and buy the right ingredients, but when it’s finished, it looks or tastes NOTHING like what it was supposed to! Or perhaps your like me. You set out to make a new recipe but make so many mistakes that your left with kidney bean burgers, and monster-dough!!!

Isn’t life a little like this though!? We have areas in our lives where we expect flawless results (diets, relationships, marriage, Church, gym, even cooking). We have this “perfect” vision of how something should be, but in reality, things turn out differently. Perhaps we fail that diet with whole lot of snacking, or we choose the wrong words in the argument with our spouse or our colleague.  We all fail each other in one way or another. We see their flaws, and they see ours.

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Life is always throwing us curve balls, and we are often going to drop the ball. I’m trying to learn to take the road of humility. The road that learns from mistakes, is quick to say sorry, laughs it off and moves on! I think this sort of perspective is in line with what Jesus meant for us. He knows we are imperfect. He knows we make mistakes. He knows we will fail each other. But he calls us out to live a positive, and fulfilling life which includes accepting our moments of weakness and failure, and letting them change us for the better. So whether its failing our colleagues at work, our family at home, or failing in the kitchen with those dang kidney bean burgers… we are invited to see these moments with eyes of hope, and a sense of humour doesn’t hurt either 😉

 

 

Come to the Cross

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“By the light of faith then, rise above every sort of selfish love. And to attain the most perfect love, as I’ve told you before, set before your mind’s eye Christ crucified and the indescribable charity he has demonstrated for you by shedding his blood with such blazing love” – St. Catherine of Siena

Today the Church celebrates the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, and what an important feast this is! Its funny, today I was standing in line at the pharmacy and the pharmacist was wearing a crucifix necklace. I mean #1- I hardly ever see people wearing such a bold and beautiful statement of faith (which inspired me to wear mine again!)  and # 2- so great to have this little wink from Jesus on His great feast day!

In the reflection today in the Magnificat, its a short excerpt from St. Catherine of Siena (which I quoted above) and she goes on to say, ” This must be your study: to love God in truth and your neighbour as yourself; to be humble and obedient; patiently to suffer pain, hurt, disdain, and abuse...In times of struggle and weariness, run with this light of holy faith to embrace the most holy cross, and there put your hope confidently in the Blood of Christ crucified…”  

I find this text so life-giving. Its a call to receive and share love in the world. It’s a reminder that although we feel pain, grief and suffering, its shall not pull us down. The cross says one thing; I love you. This love is so real and raw. It is not a fairytale love that sugar coats life. It is not a love that eliminates suffering. But it is a love that can heal our souls. It is a love that can comfort our hearts. It is a love that would conquer death and sin. Jesus on the cross is love. He loves us.

The Lord invites us to give back this kind of love to our neighbour. To endure hardship, to forgive, to be merciful, to die to our selves. Surely not from our own strength, but from the hope and strength of the holy cross of Christ.

I think todays feast is simply an invitation: to receive the love which was poured forth from the cross, and to let it transform us! That is my sincere hope for you and me.

God bless !

let your lips reveal his glory.

Why is it that we are so quick to ask for prayer, but so slow to share about our answered prayers?!  Perhaps its just easier to pray when we suffer? Or maybe when we feel better, we are so quick to resume our ‘regular life’, that we forget to offer prayers of thanksgiving.

This winter I had been very ill and found myself clinging to the prayers of friends and family. Often I did not have the strength or desire to really pray on my own. After a lot of doctor appointments, tears, waiting, google searching and praying, I am feeling back to my good old self. Even a bit better! I owe a lot of the success to the intercession of St. Kateri Tekakwitha (a story for another day). Just a few days ago, I came across Psalm 40 and the following verses stood out to me:

I waited patiently for the Lord; he inclined to me and heard my cry. He drew me up from the desolate pit, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure…I have told the glad news of deliverance  in the great congregation; see, I have not restrained my lips, as you know, O Lord. I have not hidden your saving help within my heart, I have spoken of your faithfulness and your salvation; I have not concealed your steadfast love and your faithfulness from the great congregation.

I just love this so much! The Psalmist is deeply touched by the saving grace of the Lord, that he finds no other answer but to tell the ‘glad news of deliverance’ and ‘speak of your faithfulness and your salvation’. After reading this verse, I saw so clearly that the Lord wants us to proclaim His mercy ! When he heals us, when he hears us, when he consoles us, when he inspires us, when he sustains us, when he speaks to us! We are called to share of how God works in our lives!

Like the Psalmist, I too must share my thankfulness to the Lord. That even through months of being sick, battling hopelessness, feeling abandoned, the Lord was holding me. This time of suffering was a time to really rest in the arms of my Father. To surrender to my own littleness. I didn’t think I would ever write a blog post like this, because I felt so stuck in that state. But the good news ( for anyone who feels this way), is that it doesn’t last forever. God will answer your prayers. God will bring you comfort. It might be a different timing, or a different style then you expect. But he will act. Let us continue to be like the Psalmist. Proclaiming the great and small wonders of the Lord in our lives!

 

a little closer

Silent but fierce,

Interior war.

Trigger is loose,

Don’t want anymore.

Holding them back,

Demands all of me.

Words in my head,

Just want to be free.

Count your blessings.

But where do they hide?

Always choose joy.

That path I have tried.

Look to the cross:

More close than before.

See His pierced heart,

Do we still want more?

Look to the Cross,

More close than before.

 

 

stepping stones

Being engaged is a dynamic, adventerous, challenging and joyful expereince. As the days of my engagement draw to a close, I am reflecting again on this theme of marraige and particularly, the sacrament of marriage.

Nowadays, there seems to be a profound misunderstanding of this coventant, and sacramental promise. Very often, a marraige is just an excuse for a super expensive and galmorous party (and after planning a wedding I see how one could go crazy with their bank account!), a pinterest-perfect event, or a commitment founded entirely upon emotional-love.

It seems to me that these popular ideas regarding marriage fail to understand the depth, magntiude, beauty, and mystery of the sacrament. A marriage is designed to be a beautiful union between a man and a woman, a fruitful and free relationship and a space of authentic joy. It is also however, a pathway to holiness. In mass the other day, our priest said,  ‘when we choose the path of love, we must pick up our cross’.  These crosses must call us out of ourselves; to grow in patience, self-giving love, compassion, forgiveness and humility. There are two people fighting for sanctity together. This battle can be messy, unclear at times, require healing from wounds, but this story can always end with victory!

I chose to share the following quote from the Cathecism of the Catholic Church. I think it nicely outlines how Christ can always be the anchor of a marraige. That no matter how weak, tired, sinful we are, if we let him, Jesus will carry our crosses and give the necessary strength for a joyful, lively, exciting, holy marraige. This is good, good news!

‘ This unequivocal insistence on the indissolubility of the marriage bond may have left some perplexed and could seem to be a demand impossible to realize. However, Jesus has not placed on spouses a burden impossible to bear, or too heavy – heavier than the Law of Moses. By coming to restore the original order of creation disturbed by sin, he himself gives the strength and grace to live marriage in the new dimension of the Reign of God. It is by following Christ, renouncing themselves, and taking up their crosses that spouses will be able to “receive” the original meaning of marriage and live it with the help of Christ. This grace of Christian marriage is a fruit of Christ’s cross, the source of all Christian life’ 

(CCC# 1615)

 

Our marraige is a stepping stone,

to sanctity and grace.

Our crosses are the only way,

we come to see His face.

Sin and weakness are close at hand,

though they define us not.

May truth and trust forever reign,

Let Christ transform our thought.