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, August 9, 2013

The Seasons of My Life

Today is the Feast Day of St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein). As a Secular Carmelite, I have a great fondness for all Carmelite saints, but some more than others. I love the writings and conversion story of St. Teresa Benedicta. I pray that she intercedes for all of us today to follow Jesus.

The Gospel message today hit me in a powerful way. It began with the following from Matthew 16:24 - Jesus said to his disciples: "Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me." All so not easy to do! I just want him to love me and make everything easy and good. But his message is clear - deny myself (lots that I can do in this area: time spent on computer, TV, eating chocolate in its many forms, and more), take up my cross (suffer! me! I don't do that well! But I know that what is impossible for me is possible for God!) and follow him (he is definitely worth following! I know he loves me and will love me till the end!)

Today I wanted to follow the Seasons of My Life so I made a chart for each season and then expanded on it.

January & February - harsh winter
March & April - early spring
May & June - spring turning into summer
July & August - heat of summer
September & October - early fall
November & December - fall turning into winter

My life is like the seasons - ever evolving, ever moving. I can enter into the harsh winter of depression and sadness, completely forgetting that spring is just around the corner. But it is from this darkness and cold that the appreciation for the beauty and newness of life that is spring comes! For it seems that I was blind during those harsh winter months and now I see. And what I see almost blinds me again by its newness and sparkle. And then I move into the passing of spring and the coming of summer. The newness wears off. The baby birds are growing up and flying away. The air that offered warm breezes is now getting heavier and I am not noticing so much anymore. And then comes the heat of summer. The air is heavy and difficult to breath. My thought becomes languid and sleepy. So much that happens will pass me by unnoticed, uncared for. This is a time for suffering, for trusting that God who brought life to spring, will bring life once again. Ad then we enter the early fall season that brings the crisp refreshing air that once again opens the mind and heart to the beauty of God's creation. The colors and aromas of fall open the soul's deepest longings for we see now how good the good God is. And then we enter the fall turning to winter and the colors go gray and the smells are bland but we receive a great treasure, the birthday of our redeemer who is love and his love will carry us through the seasons of our life.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Relationship with God

What will you do today to have a better relationship with God, our father and redeemer? Prayer is our best communication with he who loves us more than we know. In spite of our own lack of love or thought for him, he still watches over us! Spend time with him today in silence!

Monday, May 20, 2013


What is Joy? Joy is a pure, infinite sense of peace and love. It is extremely difficult for most human beings to find. But it does exist. Our great and loving Father in Heaven offers it freely to all of us. So why aren't we all drowning in Joy? Because we keep blocking it from entering our bodies and souls. And we do that by our own stubborn, selfish, addictive desires and wants. We are convinced that we are the ones in charge and know the answers to all of life's problems. And then we wonder why God allows bad things to happen. Or we wonder why God doesn't answer our prayers. Or we wonder why God just doesn't listen to us for surely we know best about our lives! After all we're living them!

But the truth lies in giving up our desires, our wants, our knowledge, our thoughts (most especially those that are dark and hopeless), our addictions, our selfishness; give up all people, places, and things. Empty ourselves and replace it all with humility and obedience. Humility will teach us how to serve and how to listen to someone other than ourselves. Obedience will teach us how to serve others, especially the lost and the lonely for there are many lost and lonely and then the way we think will change. Always remember that God's ways are not our ways. We must never listen to the crowd out there, but rather listen to the silence that exists in your heart for that is where God lives.

Once we have finally been released from all that enslaves us, we are now ready for Joy to enter in. Once we experience this pure, infinite joy that our loving Father greatly desires to gives us, freely, our lives will never be the same.


Sunday, May 19, 2013

Pentecost Sunday-50 days of Easter are over!

First reading in the Liturgy of the Hours is taken from the letter of the apostle Paul to the Romans.
"Those who live according to the flesh are intent on the things of the flesh, those who live according to the spirit, on those of the spirit. The tendency of the flesh is toward death but that of the spirit toward life and peace. The flesh in its tendency is at enmity with God; it is not subject to God's law. Indeed, it cannot be; those who are in the flesh cannot please God".

Jesus said,. "No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth."  Luke 16: 13

We all need to look at what is our first love. If it is God then it is eternal. If it is anything else, then it is temporal. It will end. Having faith in God is having faith in the unseen for if you can see it, there is no faith. Having hope is hope in the unseen for if you can see it, there is no reason to hope. Having love is eternal for God is love. We must rid ourselves of all attachments in order to make room for the infinite and all he desires to give us. Today is a great day to do this as the Holy Spirit comes upon us to renew and restore, to heal and forgive, to open us to possibilities beyond our imaginings! 


Thursday, March 14, 2013

Papa Francis - His First Homily

Pope Francis' first Mass and homily as Pope was held today in the Sistine Chapel. Enjoy!

Pope Francis Again

Papa Francis even pays his own bill and picks up his own suitcase when he checks out of his hotel in Rome. He is a holy, humble man.

And he visited the sick, but instead of kissing their hands he kissed their feet. And these were Aids patients. He has such great love for the poor.

And when he washed the peoples' feet, it was not during Holy Thursday but during a visit to a Mothers' home. He made them feel so special!

Pope Francis

I love him already! I have read about his humility and his love of the poor and there are so many poor today! There are those who suffer from economical poverty, but there are many more who suffer from the poverty of the spirit. We must pray for him daily for the closer we come to the presence of God, the more the evil one fights to send us reeling into the darkness!

His humility is evident in the many stories we have already heard. How as Archbishop of Buenos Aires he lived in a small apartment instead of the regal Bishop's palace. How he took the bus or drove himself rather than be driven in a luxury car. How he cooks his own meals. Then the pictures of him visiting the sick and kissing their hands and on his knees washing the feet on Holy Thursday. And then, according to Cardinal Dolan, he left the conclave traveling on the bus with the rest of the Cardinals rather than take the limo that awaited him. His first talk to the people in St. Peter's Square first included prayers for Bishop Emeritus Benedict XVI and then a plea for prayers for himself. He is a man of prayer and deep faith!

But we must always remember that it is not he but who he represents that we worship. For when we put people on pedestals, they can easily fall. Pope Francis I will lead us in a holy and faithful way for as long as he continues to immerse himself in prayer and humility.

He spends today with Our Most Holy Mother Mary. What better place to be than by her side being led by her to the presence of her son! Mary teaches all of us to say "Yes" to the Father, our Creator! And I love that he has turned to her on his first official day!

God bless you, Pope Francis I! May you continue to remain God's humble and faithful servant!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Lots of Bloggers thoughts...

On the Pope's resignation!

Pope Benedict XVI will resign Feb 28

Our Papa resigns. We are always in God's hands and most especially at this time! Pray for our beloved Pope!

Church > 2013-02-11 12:03:44 

Pope Benedict XVI announces his resignation at end of month 

Pope Benedict XVI on Monday said he plans on resigning the papal office on February 28th. Below please find his announcement.

Full text of Pope's declaration

Dear Brothers,
I have convoked you to this Consistory, not only for the three canonizations, but also to communicate to you a decision of great importance for the life of the Church. After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry. I am well aware that this ministry, due to its essential spiritual nature, must be carried out not only with words and deeds, but no less with prayer and suffering. However, in today’s world, subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith, in order to govern the bark of Saint Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months, has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me. For this reason, and well aware of the seriousness of this act, with full freedom I declare that I renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome, Successor of Saint Peter, entrusted to me by the Cardinals on 19 April 2005, in such a way, that as from 28 February 2013, at 20:00 hours, the See of Rome, the See of Saint Peter, will be vacant and a Conclave to elect the new Supreme Pontiff will have to be convoked by those whose competence it is.
Dear Brothers, I thank you most sincerely for all the love and work with which you have supported me in my ministry and I ask pardon for all my defects. And now, let us entrust the Holy Church to the care of Our Supreme Pastor, Our Lord Jesus Christ, and implore his holy Mother Mary, so that she may assist the Cardinal Fathers with her maternal solicitude, in electing a new Supreme Pontiff. With regard to myself, I wish to also devotedly serve the Holy Church of God in the future through a life dedicated to prayer. 
From the Vatican, 10 February 2013 


Listen to Pope Benedict XVI make his announcment: MP3 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Sacrifice? What's that?

"God's ways are not our ways!" How true!! We want comfort; God wants us to suffer and sacrifice (not exactly, but close!) We want to be exalted; God wants us to be humble! We want everything; God wants us to give up everything! We want to be filled; God wants us to be emptied! We are blind; God wants us to see! We are deaf; God wants us to hear! We are dumb; God wants us to have knowledge and understanding! We are weak; God wants us to be strong! We are sinners; God wants us to be saints! Unless you have tried to live God's way instead of your own way, you will never know the power and peace and joy that comes from God's way of life. To be willing to live on our knees in prayer is a very different life. True prayer is a safeguard. It's time consuming and will bring us out of ourselves and into the life of God. True prayer is not trying to get through prayer making it a meaningless struggle. True prayer is a longing to be with our Creator and Redeemer for the lover always longs to be with the beloved and the beloved always longs to be with the lover. God longs to be our one true love, but allows us to have other loves and then waits ever so patiently for our return to him. For it will come, if not now while we live, then eventually at our death.

We seek comfort in things. God asks us to sacrifice and maybe even suffer a little. Many experience suffering by choice and some not by choice. Those who go to the gym know how to suffer in order to improve their bodies and their weight. They come back feeling so much better about themselves if they stick to it. Those who spend time in prayer, at Mass, in Adoration suffer in order to improve their souls. They too come back feeling so much better about themselves if they stick to it. Anything that is worth having is worth suffering and sacrificing for.

We want to be exalted. God asks us to humble ourselves. Instead of taking the first seats, take the last and then you will be invited to come into the front row. How hard it is to humble ourselves. To take the last place when we really want to be first. But when we humble ourselves, that is when we realize our nothingness and God's greatness. That in spite of our nothingness, he loves us as if we were all he ever needed. God is our lover and we are the beloved! And when it comes to humility, what are we teaching our children today? That self-esteem is most important and it only depends on them. Is God anywhere in the picture? It's like a math equation that has its own answer because God has been removed from the equation. For several generations it's been thought best to remove the creator from every aspect of life in order to allow ourselves to live as we please. But we forget that death is inevitable and we are taking a bigger chance than betting on the lottery by living our lives as we please instead of following the natural law.

We want everything. God asks that we give up everything. God is everything so if we place God first in our lives we do have everything - everything that we will ever need to live the best life. But if we place everything on this earth first in our lives, we'll come eventually to realize just how temporal it all is. Nothing is guaranteed. Our homes could burn down and we could lose all the material possessions, but if we do not lose our lives we have everything. Our friends and relatives could die and leave us empty and lost. But with God in our lives, we have everything because we trust where they are and that we will see them again. God has promised and he keeps his promises. But, do you believe?

We want to be filled. God asks us to empty ourselves. We fill ourselves with food, beverages, social lives, vacations, material possessions and yet we never feel full. There is just one more thing that we need. God's request is to empty ourselves of all in order for him to fill us with himself. God is love. He can only fill us when we are empty - empty of all our supposed needs.

We are blind, deaf, and dumb creatures, so very weak. But God is so very strong and his desire is to give us everything we will ever need in order to live a good and holy life so that at the end of our lives we will come straight home to him. Many today think that Jesus died on the cross to forgive us our sins and as a result they can continue to live a sinful life because in the end Jesus will forgive us everything. But the truth is we have to recognize the sin in our life in order to earn forgiveness and redemption. Our lives will be forever changed once we do this in honesty and trust. It is how we live this life on earth that will determine how we live eternity. Jesus has plans for each one of us, but we need to see, hear and think in order to have the knowledge and understanding to live out those plans in our daily lives. Grace is available in abundance to those who open themselves up to God's presence. God has the power to heal, forgive, and change us, but few respond to this power. Few give God the time of day. Our mind is a baggage trough filled with worldly thoughts, fears, anxieties and ways to make ourselves feel better. Very seldom does God enter into our thoughts and if he does it's only to question rather than trust.

So if God is love then he must love. He cannot do otherwise. Why did he create us if not to love us? And if a father and mother desire the best for their children, how much more does God desire for us? It's worth finding out. As we progress through this new year and all the promises we made to keep our bodies healthy and fit, wouldn't it be great to also keep our souls healthy and fit. It's worth trying and it can be done just by picking up a good book by one of the saints. Find out how they lived their lives! Remember they were human too, just like you and me. Some suggestions - St. Terese of Lisieux, St. Theresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross, Padre Pio, Blessed John Paul II and so many others. Some apologetic writers - Scott Hahn, Peter Kreeft, Patrick Madrid, and so many others. We are what we eat and so too, we are what we read! Blessings in Carmel from a Carmelite!!

What do we seek?

Today's first reading in The Liturgy of the Hours was from the book of Sirach and these two lines struck me.

"Call no man happy before his death,
for by how he ends, a man is known."

We judge success so differently from how God judges it. Our culture sees success today as having just two children, preferably a boy and a girl, a comfortable home, a good job, lots of vacations, and all the comforts that life offers. We have lost the sacrificial lifestyle that brings us out of our selfish natures and into a willingness to give up our attachments. Jesus told us that we must take up our cross and follow him. How many today are willing to do this? It's a cross for a young couple to not use contraception, but rather to learn natural ways to avoid pregnancy and yet be willing to accept another child if this does not work. It's a cross to buy only what one can afford and not extend the debt because of one's desires and wants. It's much harder to pay only for what one needs and to know what that is. To carry the cross is hard, but we never have to do it alone. God is always with us. He proved his love by sending his only son to die for us. What greater love is there? He also gave us a special gift in his mother Mary who teaches us "To do whatever he tells you." Mary models for us how we should and can seek God's will in our daily lives. We must become prayer warriors for without prayer we are weak and easily influenced by the lies of the evil one. It is only through a deep and committed prayer life that we come to know the truth and it is through the truth that we shall find eternity. God is pure love and he is always seeking us, but we must be willing to open ourselves to receive this love. We must seek him as well! God bless!