St. Monica Parish

St. Monica Parish
Why I Pray! Jesus is present in the Tabernacle. He promised to never leave us and his promise is true.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Are you profiting from your sin? You should be.

Are you profiting from your sin? You should be.

This made me realize just how humbling it is to recognize the sin in my life for when I denied it, I was truly proud and arrogant which, of course, was the original sin. How many of us continue in this original sin?

Wednesday, December 26, 2012


This second reading from the Liturgy of the Hours speaks of the wonders of love. It's the stairway to heaven, but such a difficult climb. Along the way we see so clearly the sins of others and deny our own sin. We think we can fix others by pointing out the sins, but in fact we push them away. Love is so simple, but so very hard. There are times when I have a deep understanding and acceptance of where others need to be in their lives. But it seems that those times are fleeting. I do believe that our loving and merciful creator made us all different and he has a particular plan for each one of us. He is God and I am not. Letting go and trusting that God is working in the lives of my loved ones and I don't have to. We all have our journey that involves pain and suffering. We are all called to come home to God's heavenly kingdom, but not all will answer that call. It is what we do in this life that will make all the difference in the next. Blessings!

Second reading
From a sermon by Saint Fulgentius of Ruspe, bishop
The armament of love

Love, indeed, is the source of all good things; it is an impregnable defense, and the way that leads to heaven. He who walks in love can neither go astray nor be afraid: love guides him, protects him, and brings him to his journey’s end.

My brothers, Christ made love the stairway that would enable all Christians to climb to heaven. Hold fast to it, therefore, in all sincerity, give one another practical proof of it, and by your progress in it, make your ascent together.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Second Reading in today's Liturgy of the Hours

So many today do not understand the call to holiness. We are all called to holiness, but we must work at it. Is it easier to just live out the struggles of the day and "get through life" knowing and hoping that it will just all end soon? Or is it easier to grow in understanding and wisdom through prayer and devotion to our Creator and Redeemer? Most of us know the Our Father, but how many of us really listen and comprehend the words? "Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven..." When you pray these words, do they touch your heart or are they just words? Yes, we are all called to be saints! St. Augustine said it so well! "Our hearts are restless, Lord, till they rest in you." And he didn't mean we had to die to find Jesus. His presence is real. Heaven can be found now, just as surely as we can also find hell on this earth. Which one does your heart long for? If it's Heaven than you will get on your knees every day and give God praise and thanksgiving for His goodness and great mercy. For He alone must be the center of your life. God desires to bless us! But we must choose to open our hearts to receive His blessings and grace! God bless one and all!

From a letter to Diognetus

No man has ever seen God or known him, but God has revealed himself to us through faith, by which alone it is possible to see him. God, the Lord and maker of all things, who created the world and set it in order, not only loved man but was also patient with him. So he has always been, and is, and will be: kind, good, free from anger, truthful; indeed, he and he alone is good.

He devised a plan, a great and wonderful plan, and shared it only with his Son. As long as he preserved this secrecy and kept his own wise counsel he seemed to be neglecting us, to have no concern for us. But when through his beloved Son he revealed and made public what he had prepared from the very beginning, he gave us all at once gifts such as we could never have dreamt of, even sight and knowledge of himself.

When God had made all his plans in consultation with his Son, he waited until a later time, allowing us to follow our own whim, to be swept along by unruly passions, to be led astray by pleasure and desire. Not that he was pleased by our sins: he only tolerated them. Not that he approved of that time of sin: he was planning this era of holiness. When we had been shown to be undeserving of life, his goodness was to make us worthy of it. When we had made it clear that we could not enter God’s kingdom by our own power, we were to be enabled to do so by the power of God.

When our wickedness had reached its culmination, it became clear that retribution was at hand in the shape of suffering and death. The time came then for God to make known his kindness and power (how immeasurable is God’s generosity and love!). He did not show hatred for us or reject us or take vengeance; instead, he was patient with us, bore with us, and in compassion took our sins upon himself; he gave his own Son as the price of our redemption, the holy one to redeem the wicked, the sinless one to redeem sinners, the just one to redeem the unjust, the incorruptible one to redeem the corruptible, the immortal one to redeem mortals. For what else could have covered our sins but his sinlessness?
Where else could we—wicked and sinful as we were—have found the means of holiness except in the Son of God alone?

How wonderful a transformation, how mysterious a design, how inconceivable a blessing! The wickedness of the many is covered up in the holy One, and the holiness of One sanctifies many sinners.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Why I Love being Catholic - continued!

My thought process was distracted by the stories I read from my favorite bloggers. I must continue the thought of "Why I love being Catholic."

It's really very simple! Jesus!! We need to just spend our days praising and thanking our wonderful Creator and Redeemer and He has given us so many reasons to do this!

His life began in a very simple way - a child was conceived in a virgin womb! How unbelievable is this? But then it continues - His mother asks him to help the bride and groom who seem to have run out of wine. In her faith and trust, she tells the waiters to "do whatever he tells you" as she continues to tell us today. So Jesus turned water into wine! How unbelievable is this? But then it continues - the blind see, the deaf hear, the lame walk. Nothing like this has ever been done before! How unbelievable is this? But then it continues - he enjoys his Passover meal with his disciples and changes bread into his body and wine into his blood and tells them "to do this in remembrance of him." How unbelievable is this? But then it continues - he dies after being beaten, bloodied, spat upon, crowned with thorns, and crucified and then, he rises from the dead! How unbelievable is this!! What is it about this man that drew so many to him?

The Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us: After his Resurrection, Jesus' divine sonship becomes manifest in the power of his glorified humanity. He was "designated Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his Resurrection from the dead". The apostles can confess: "We have beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth."

With Jesus, all is possible. We believe or we do not believe! We come into this world with free will. God loves us so much, He will never force himself upon us or force His will upon us. We can freely choose to believe or not to believe. I love my Catholic faith. For nowhere else can I find the sacraments that give me the graces I need to find my way back home to Jesus, especially the food for the journey (Eucharist) and the mercy of God (Reconciliation). I am blessed and it fills me with joy!

I've spoken of my favorite bloggers, but will continue in another blog about my favorite books, movies, and online websites that enhance and support my journey to love my faith. God bless!!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Why I Love being Catholic

It's all about truth. It's not truth camouflaged by what our culture currently believes. It's truth passed down through the ages from one generation to another. But something happened in the 60s when truth became watered down and many truly believed that the Catholic Church would eventually change their position on certain truths. Those truths concerned the body and sexuality. I married in 1968 and bought every lie our culture propagated and yet continued to go to Sunday Mass and receive Jesus. Why did I go to Mass? Because I felt required to do so. I know now that I never truly believed in the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus in this truly awesome Sacrament. What blessings I was missing as I began to make decisions about marriage and family. And now 44 years later, I see in retrospect all that I missed. But I have also discovered in the process God's great mercy.

My greatest sin today is envy and jealousy as I follow blogs of young Catholics, married and single folks, who follow faithfully the teachings of the Catholic Church as I never did as a young mother. I also envy their ability to communicate in a way that was not available to me as a young mother. As I read their stories, I can't help but think how awesome the moms and dads are in their dedication to their children and their faith. In their blogs, they speak honestly and openly about their joys and sorrows, worries and concerns about being open to life and following the teachings of the faith.

On October 11, 2012, we began celebrating the Year of the Faith  and will finish up the year on November 24, 2013. These bloggers are some of this year's greatest evangelizers and they can suffer greatly from the responses in their comboxes. I hope you will enjoy them and share positive responses to the sacrifices and struggles, joys and deliriously funny happenings in their lives. I'd like to share with you some of these unseen heroes of the faith.

Calah Anderson, Barefoot and Pregnant, hit it right when she recently wrote about how wrong it is to respond to the tragedy in Newtown, CT with "because it proves that you were right all along about a law to ban prayer in schools." We do not need God in our schools as much as we need Him in our Hearts. Anyone who spends even a small portion of their day in prayer knows this.

Jennifer Fulweiler, Conversion Diary, speaks about becoming Catholic after spending most of her life as an Atheist. Her reality TV show, Minor Revisions, debuted on December 13, 2012. You can watch the first show on YouTube. Or get more information about the show by going here. Jennifer and her husband are surrounded by life!!

Elizabeth Scalia, The Anchoress, tells it like it is. She is a font of information! If I want to know what is going on in the world with a Catholic view to the story, I read it on her blog. Elizabeth is a Benedictine Oblate and the Managing Editor of the Catholic Portal at Patheos, which information I took from her website. Sometimes I wonder if she ever sleeps.

Joanne K. McPortland, Egregious Twaddle, is another favorite. She's honest and funny and shares the truth about her life, whether it's good or bad. Joanne reminds me that we are all human and suffer from that original sin that our first parents so kindly passed on to us. But in doing so, they opened the doors to Jesus and God's great mercy. How blessed we are to believe!!

And there are so many other bloggers that I can mention here, such as Danielle Bean (who is now doing a million other things since I first discovered her blog some years ago and raising 8 children), Rachel Balducci at Testosterhome, Matthew Archibold at Creative Minority Report, Mark Shea at Catholic and Enjoying It!, Lauren at Sipping Lemonade, and Matthew Warner at Fallible Blogma. So many and so many more not mentioned here. Follow them; Enjoy; Return to the faith; Renew your faith; or just enjoy the community of believers!

To end this blog, I want to share part of a story in today's local newspaper about the tragedy in Newtown, CT. This one heartbroken dad who responded to the loss of his daughter with love and forgiveness. His words will reverberate around the globe. Life is all about love!

Robbie Parker, father of 6-year-old shooting victim Emilie, spoke to the public last night about his daughter and the lives she touched in her short time. When her friends were feeling sad, he said, Emilie reached for the markers and colored pencils that she almost always carried. “She never missed an opportunity to draw a picture or make a card for those around her,” Parker said. “I can’t count the number times Emilie … rushed to grab a piece of paper to draw them a picture or write them a note.” The 30-year-old father took deep, steadying breaths and fought back tears last night as he described his 6-year-old daughter. She had big blue eyes, lots of white-blond hair and a dusting of freckles across her nose. “Her laughter was infectious,” Parker said. “All those who had the pleasure to meet her would agree that this world has been a better place because she has been in it.” She loved art. She loved trying new things — except for food. But above all, she loved her 3- and 4-year-old sisters, Parker said. She taught them to dance, to read and to do crafts. “They looked up to her,” Parker said. “It would be really sweet to see the times when one of them would fall or one of them would have their feelings hurt and would run to Emilie to get their support and hugs and kisses.” He paused to send a blessing to the family of the gunman Adam Lanza. “I can’t imagine how hard this experience must be for you,” Parker said. “I want you to know that our family and our love and our support goes out to you as well.”

God bless all and Merry Christmas to all!!

Friday, December 14, 2012

St. John of the Cross, Priest - Memorial Dec. 14, 2012

St. John of the Cross worked with St. Teresa of Avila to reform the Carmelite Order. They are known as the Discalced Carmelites of which I am part of the Third Order, the lay portion of the Carmelites. This is such a joyful feast day as we celebrate the life of St. John. St. John teaches us how to rejoice even in suffering! The reading below is taken from the second reading in the Liturgy of the Hours. God bless! From a Spiritual Canticle of St. John of the Cross, Priest Though holy doctors have uncovered many mysteries and wonders, and devout souls have understood them in this earthly condition of ours, yet the greater part still remains to be unfolded by them, and even to be understood by them. We must then dig deeply in Christ. He is like a rich mine with many pockets containing treasures: however deep we dig we will never find their end or their limit. Indeed, in every pocket new seams of fresh riches are discovered on all sides. For this reason the apostle Paul said of Christ: In him are hidden all the treasures of the wisdom and knowledge of God. The soul cannot enter into these treasures, nor attain them, unless it first crosses into and enters the thicket of suffering, enduring interior and exterior labors, and unless it first receives from God very many blessings in the intellect and in the senses, and has undergone long spiritual training. All these are lesser things, disposing the soul for the lofty sanctuary of the knowledge of the mysteries of Christ: this is the highest wisdom attainable in this life. Would that men might come at last to see that it is quite impossible to reach the thicket of the riches and wisdom of God except by first entering the thicket of much suffering, in such a way that the soul finds there its consolation and desire. The soul that longs for divine wisdom chooses first, and in truth, to enter the thicket of the cross. Saint Paul therefore urges the Ephesians not to grow weary in the midst of tribulations, but to be steadfast and rooted and grounded in love, so that they may know with all the saints the breadth, the length, the height and the depth—to know what is beyond knowledge, the love of Christ, so as to be filled with all the fullness of God. The gate that gives entry into these riches of his wisdom is the cross; because it is a narrow gate, while many seek the joys that can be gained through it, it is given to few to desire to pass through it.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Second Reading of Liturgy of the Hours

If only mankind knew the presence of Jesus within, how different he would behave. His prayer life would grow and his desire to communicate with God and his knowledge of God's love. All this would grow until he feels as though he would burst. For the infinite being inhabits fully the finite. How does this happen that we are so loved by our Creator and that we do not take the time to love Him back?

From a sermon by St. Bernard, Abbot

"We know that there are three comings of the Lord. The third lies between the other two. It is invisible, while the other two are visible. In the first coming he was seen on earth, dwelling among men; he himself testifies that they saw him and hated him. In the final coming all flesh will see the salvation of our God, and they will look on him whom they pierced. The intermediate coming is a hidden one; in it only the elect see the Lord within their own selves, and they are saved. In his first coming our Lord came in our flesh and in our weakness; in this middle coming he comes in spirit and in power; in the final coming he will be seen in glory and majesty.

Because this coming lies between the other two, it is like a road on which we travel from the first coming to the last. In the first, Christ was our redemption; in the last, he will appear as our life; in this middle coming, he is our rest and consolation.

In case someone should think that what we say about this middle coming is sheer invention, listen to what our Lord himself says: If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him. There is another passage of Scripture which reads: He who fears God will do good, but something further has been said about the one who loves, that is, that he will keep God’s word. Where is God’s word to be kept? Obviously in the heart, as the prophet says: I have hidden your words in my heart, so that I may not sin against you.

Keep God's word in this way. Let it enter into your very being, let it take possession of your desires and your whole way of life. Feed on goodness, and your soul will delight in its richness. Remember to eat your bread, or your heart will wither away. Fill your soul with richness and strength.

If you keep the word of God in this way, it will also keep you. The Son with the Father will come to you. The great Prophet who will build the new Jerusalem will come, the one who makes all things new. This coming will fulfill what is written: As we have borne the likeness of the earthly man, we shall also bear the likeness of the heavenly man. Just as Adam’s sin spread through all mankind and took hold of all, so Christ, who created and redeemed all, will glorify all, once he takes possession of all. "