hope is greater

A little while back, I wrote a post about the limitations of the English language, particularly for the word love. How is it possible that this rich verb can be used to describe the most beautiful union between man and women, while at the same time describing affection for a pair of shoes?!

It recently dawned on me, that the same goes for the word hope. This was the word I received for the new year, and the Lord keeps revealing to me how necessary hope is for the world- especially in these confusing times.

Photo by Gelgas Airlangga on Pexels.com

It’s funny though, how often we use this word for everyday, simple experiences.”I hope it doesn’t rain today”, “I hope we make it on time”, I hope she likes the gift”… you get the idea!

Yet in reality, hope is so much more than these simple desires we ascribe to it. Here is what the Catechism of the Catholic Church writes about hope:

The virtue of hope responds to the aspiration to happiness which God has placed in the heart of every man; it takes up the hopes that inspire men’s activities and purifies them so as to order them to the Kingdom of heaven; it keeps man from discouragement; it sustains him during times of abandonment; it opens up his heart in expectation of eternal beatitude. Buoyed up by hope, he is preserved from selfishness and led to the happiness that flows from charity.

CCC #1818

Isn’t that beautiful!? Hope is like the compass that points us to our heavenly home! It’s the antidote against discouragement, depression, despair. Hope leads us to happiness, opens our hearts, and reminds us that we are journeying towards Christ himself.

It is my prayer, that you, wherever you are, and whatever you might be going through, are renewed and strengthened by this promise of authentic hope. Let us all fix our eyes above the current situation, and hope in what is to come, and in He who is the source of our hope.

Photo by Min An on Pexels.com

dancing before the King

Do you ever feel like God is being a little too quiet in your life? Despite your prayer times, participation in the sacramental life and various missions… it just seems like you can’t hear His voice anymore?

I’ve been feeling like this over the past few weeks, and it was starting to get really discouraging. Thankfully, the Holy Spirit reminded me of something this past Friday during adoration:

God does not hesitate to use others to communicate His love and presence with us.

We attended an adoration evening on Friday, and we came late so we sat in the very last pew! Due to our seating, I could see the whole church and in particular a little girl with gorgeous blond hair near the front.

As the choir started to sing, this little girl stood up in her pew and started to sway back and forth to the music. There was something so peaceful and innocent about her movements and her presence before the Lord.

Immediately, I was touched to tears as I watched this young girl, so powerfully free, dance before her King. At one point, her sister tugged on her jacket to sit down, and she just pulled away and kept on swaying.

I knew exactly in that moment, that God was calling me to be free like this little girl. To find my comfort, my peace and my joy in Christ alone. To be so wrapped in His love, that I could even dance before Him.

Photo by Gustavo Tabosa on Pexels.com

This little girl modelled what radical and pure love for Christ looks like. It’s unafraid, it’s bold, it’s present, it’s pure and it’s contagious.

So, even though I didn’t hear God in my morning prayer or the mass readings, I sure heard Him speaking through His precious child, who beautifully danced before her King and her Lord.

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.

Photo by Yaroslav Danylchenko on Pexels.com

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!

right now.

So last Sunday, we were watching the mass with Fr. Mike Schmitz and he said something in the homily that has stayed with me all week. He said ( I’m paraphrasing here) we can’t encounter God in the past or the future, only in the present.

Obvious? Maybe. Profound? Definitely. If we actually believe this, it has the power to change our attitude, our perspective and our life!

How many of us are guilty for playing on repeat the mistakes of the past, or the way things should have gone? Or how about the worries of the future? How much time is wasted thinking about what might happen, what could be, or the perfect scenario?

Photo by Franck Denis on Pexels.com

What Father Mike is encouraging us to do, is to radically trust in the power of God working in the present moment! Isn’t that freeing?! Just think: actually letting go and surrendering all that happened in your past, and all that you worry and fear for in the future. Just living moment to moment with your Heavenly Father.

Lord Jesus,

You see each one of us right now. You know our hearts, and our thoughts. You see the burdens we carry from the past and the fears that we hold for the future. We surrender all of these moments, worries, anxieties and hopes to you. We want to live in the freedom that you have won for us on the Cross. We want to live with you right now! Come Jesus into our hearts and meet us in this exact moment. Show us how to live a life that is truly present to you and your people. Send your Spirit to guide, inspire and enlighten us. We love and thank you.

Amen.

spiritual seasons.

Hi!

I realized something today. I will never be one of those scheduled blogging types, managing to faithfully post each week… it feels like forever since I’ve written. Sorry for the delay!

There has been a LOT happening in the past few months, because were moving back to CANADA! Back to the land of my ancestors, the land of maple syrup, the land of my childhood. It is a very blessed and beautiful time in my life right now, with so many things (big & small) falling into place. It feels great.

Over the past two years, I didn’t say “things are falling into place” very often. It actually felt like I was constantly faced with one obstacle after the other. Instead of doors opening, doors were slamming. Instead of prayers being answered quickly, waiting was required. Instead of joy overflowing, despair was creeping in.

raining in the city

Photo by Josh Hild on Pexels.com

I am starting to learn that indeed, there are seasons of the spiritual life. I’m sure there are Saints or theologians who have expressed a similar concept with much greater eloquence… but this is how I have felt the “seasons” lately:

Spring Season– many moments of consolation, growing in the spiritual life, feeling the rays of the Son.

Summer Season; mostly moments of consolation, everything seems to be in bloom, constantly basking in the presence of the Son.

Fall Season– moments of consolation & desolation, lots of change in the spiritual life, seeing yourself/world/God in new “colours”.

Winter Season- primarily moments of desolation, feeling cold and far from the rays of the  Son, faith/spiritual life feeling bleak/grey.

So, whatever season you find yourself in right now, if you can, thank the Lord and remember it won’t last forever! That is sooo much easier said than done. I spent the past two years in pretty wintery conditions… and I definitely wasn’t always praising the Lord for my moments of desolation. But sometimes it takes someone who is in a slightly  “warmer” season, to remind you that you are not alone, it won’t be like this forever, God is faithful, God is working in your life, and the grey skies will turn to blue.

photo lavender flower field under pink sky

Photo by David Bartus on Pexels.com

May God continue to bless and strengthen us as we battle through the spiritual seasons of life. Let’s continue to pray for each other, that we do not take the moments of consolation for granted, or waste the precious moments of suffering.

You are loved! God bless!

glory to God in the highest

Happy New Year Everyone!

On the Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord,  I came across a magnificent quote by Saint Gregory the Great (in my Magnificat prayer/mass book). I had recently watched the movie Planet Earth II ( which I highly recommend- very well made, adorable & inspiring)  which rather unexpectedly, renewed in me a sense of wonder, awe and beauty for our home here on earth. So with these sentiments already in my heart, and a thankfulness for God’s gift of nature, I read the following words of Saint Gregory the Great with a blissful and joyful heart:

“When the king of heaven was born, the heavens knew that he was God because they immediately sent forth a star; the sea knew him because it allowed him to walk upon it; the earth knew him because it trembled when he died; the sun knew him because it hid the rays of its light” 

img_0896

Even the great and uncontrollable weather systems and created world bow before the King of the universe. The earth and all it’s beauty are simply a glimpse into the wonderful being of God, our Father and Creator. If we appreciate and are amazed by the complexity of the galaxies, the seasons that bring forth change, the animals and plants that bring life, then we have received an incredible gift. A gift meant to bless us, amaze us, and ultimately, bring us back to the Giver of the gift. Back to God. Back to the Author of beauty.

I pray that 2020 be a year of deep encounter with the wonders of God that have been painted all around us. May the black and white view of the world, that so often threatens to bring us down, or deceive us, be replaced with a vivid and magnificently bright and colourful lens.

God bless!

letting go: the sweet life.

“None of the thoughts that render us anxious, and agitated in spirit in any way comes from God, who is the Prince is Peace…” (St. Frances De Sales)

This morning while reading Searching for and Maintaining Peace (Fr. Jacques Philippe), I came across a quote from St. Frances De Sales. I find this seemingly simple and perhaps even obvious statement, so rich and compelling. These words invite me to honestly reflect on the kinds of emotions and reactions that dominate my life. Are they anxieties, fears, agitations and doubts? Or are they ones of hope, peace and trust?

I chose to write about this today because I know that I am not alone in this battle of positivity vs. negativity and ultimately of good vs. evil. We are ALL struggling, at varying degrees, with the pressure, stress and demands of “life”. It seems that now more than ever, people are crumbling under the often crippling demands to be perfect, powerful,  rich, put together, successful and flawless.

IMG_0781.JPG

* God speaks to me in analogies… even if they are seats on the train hehe *  This image spoke to me of the redemption and newness that comes from God. He takes us when we feel dull, faded and used, and transforms us into something beautiful again!

Even as I write this, it seems a bit crazy and naive of us to fall into this trap. But when it’s our own lives, careers, relationships and life choices… things can become a bit blurry. We often find ourselves putting unrealistic expectations on our shoulders and fighting back feelings of failure, shame or regret when we fall short.

The good news is, we are not destined to stay in these low and often dark places. It’s not something we can just wish away, and for some of us, this journey is going to require more work and care than others, but there is always hope.

IMG_0790.JPG

The sweet life!

As the quote above says, God is the Prince of Peace and therefore with Him comes a peace that no one can destroy. God isn’t some magician who just takes away every hardship in our lives… but he gives a different and deeper kind of peace. I think this quote says it best:

“Peace is not the absence of something, but the presence of Someone” (unknown)

I pray that all of us can enter into the deep peace that is of Christ. That we find solace and hope in He who is the Prince of Peace. Let’s pray for each other, that we can let go of the anxieties and agitations that try to hold us back from freedom, joy and peace! Perhaps a little piece of cake and tea is just the perfect place to start?!