Dios Ti Agngina

Thank you in Ilocano

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Filtering by Tag: Catholicism

What This Death Row Prisoner Who May Soon Be Canonized As A Saint Can Teach Us

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“May your love draw down upon you the mercy of the Lord, and may he let you see that within your soul a saint is sleeping. I shall ask him to make you so open and supple that you will be able to understand and do what he wants you to do. Your life is nothing; it is not even your own. Each time you say ‘I’d like to do this or that,’ you wound Christ, robbing him of what is his. You have to put to death everything within you except the desire to love God. This is not at all hard to do. It is enough to have confidence and to thank the little Jesus for all the potentialities he has placed within you. You are called to holiness, like me, like everyone, don’t forget.” -Venerable Jacques Fesch (in a letter to his mother)

I was reminded this morning about the word I chose for this year when I read this article (see below). I had chosen the word “holiness.” It’s about the famous Parable of the Prodigal Son and Venerable Jacques Fesch. I’d never heard of Blessed Jacques Fesch before but I was drawn to his story. I love what he says above, “You are called to holiness, like me, like everyone, don’t forget.” It doesn’t matter where we are in this life. If we’ve failed ourselves, our families, our society, Blessed Jacques Fesch teaches us that it’s never too late. As long as we’re living we can change. We can do better. We can beat the odds. We are meant for much more. 
Many times I gain inspiration from the saints. They help me pause and remember what my purpose is. After all the saints are our friends and they are in heaven constantly rooting for us. Peace, love, and good health.

https://aleteia.org/…/meet-the-death-row-prisoner-who-disc…/

*The picture above is of the beautiful Cathedral Basilica of St. Augustine in St. Augustine, Florida.

Ash Wednesday

It's very rare for me to be up by 6:00 or 6:15 in the morning.  I've never been an early bird.  But yesterday morning was different because it's the start of the Lenten season and my family and I attended Mass for Ash Wednesday.  Even our five year old had to get up! 

There were two takeaways from the priest's homily.  He said, "You are dirt!"  We are reminded of Original Sin and that we are a sinful people.  Our bodies will die but our souls will live forever.  

I really resonated with the second takeaway.  Father said, "Prayer is like breathing.  It is necessary."

Prayer really needs to be our everything and I think it's the perfect Lenten activity to start again with God if someone's been away from the Church or feels like they're just going through the motions because they have to.  One young lady who I am health coaching picked the word "prayer" for her word theme for 2018.  Prayer is the best way to tighten our relationship or lack of relationship with Jesus.    

The saints can teach us how to pray.  Not only did St. Pio of Pietrelcina and St. Jean Baptiste Marie Vianney spend countless hours in the confessional reconciling people to God, these two holy priests had such a deep, rich, unwavering relationship with Jesus and Mary.  

I love this beautiful quote by St. Jean Vianney.

My little children, your hearts, are small, but prayer stretches them and makes them capable of loving God.  Through prayer we receive a foretaste of heaven and something of paradise comes down upon us.  Prayer never leaves us without sweetness.  It is honey that flows into the souls and makes all things sweet.  When we pray properly, sorrows disappear like snow before the sun.

Doesn't that sound so poetic?  Let us open our hearts to our loving Father and let us do all that we can to make this Lent the best Lent ever so that one day we may enter into His everlasting embrace.

You are dirt!
Prayer is like breathing.  It is necessary.

The Catholic Diocese Of St. Thomas In The U.S. Virgin Islands

Several weekends ago, we had a pleasant surprise from a visiting priest at our parish.  His name was the Most Reverend Herbert A. Bevard, the Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands.  And he gave a most heartfelt homily that touched me deeply.  

St. Thomas, he said,  is beautiful, a tropical paradise.  There are white sand beaches and pristine aqua blue waters everywhere you look it seems.   And if you stay at a Marriott or a Ritz Carlton or any of the numerous resorts there, hotel employees attend to your every need.  

Yet for all the beauty and luxury most tourists see, the Diocese of St. Thomas is ironically the poorest diocese in the United States.  Its eight parishes are among the poorest in the nation.  But because the diocese is part of the U.S.  it does not qualify for support from any international mission organizations, and so it is dependent on the generous support of other parishes in the U.S.   

Bishop Bevard lamented today's culture.  "We are a throw away society.  When we don't want something, we just throw it away."  The poor in his diocese are victims of this mindset.  They  live next to dumps and abandoned cars, looking for their next meal or anything of value as they rummage through refuse and piles of trash.  You can imagine the stench that must be overwhelming.  They are struggling to stay alive while most of us have never missed a meal.  This is extreme poverty.  

Bishop Bevard described a sad experience.  He would visit villages when he could and bring a bag of fruit and another bag of candy for impoverished children.    When the children saw him, they would run towards him and eat all that he had.  But one time  one little boy came too late.  By the time he got to him, there was no more food to give.  The little boy begged but the bishop said that both bags were empty.  He told the little boy to go back home and ask his mother for food.  Sadly, the boy said that it wasn't his turn to eat that day.  He had eaten yesterday and today was his sister's turn to eat.

The bishop said that it was his first time to ever hear such a thing.  For most of us, a lack of food is not a problem.  Usually we have an abundance of things to eat.  So the little boy's heartbreaking situation is so foreign that it is beyond comprehension.  As head of the nation's poorest Catholic diocese, the bishop is the voice of the many hungry children who desperately need help from those who can generously give.  

In his homily, the bishop also mentioned that he had converted to Catholicism.  He was eleven years old when the idea of becoming a Catholic came to him.  He had never stood inside a Catholic church before but he decided to talk to a priest.  The priest asked him to serve Mass with him the next day.  The young Herbert Bevard was surprised as he did not know that Mass was said daily.  The priest also explained the miracle that happens each time the priest consecrates the bread and wine.  Because of that he wanted to become a priest.  He told his parents and his parents' response was to send him to military school.  He never had the opportunity to go to Mass or see a priest during those years but his desire to become a Catholic never waned.  He prayed the Hail Mary often and this sustained him. 

After graduating from military school in 1964, and with his parents no longer resistant to his desire to become a Catholic, Bishop Bevard was baptized in the Catholic church.  In 1976, he baptized his mother and brought her into the church.  He also eventually baptized his father and  brother.  What a beautiful conversion story!  

And the bishop explained that all of this was possible because of the goodness of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  He said, "Remember the Blessed Mother always.  Give everything to the Blessed Mother.  She will ensure your admittance into heaven."  

Before ending his homily the bishop  asked for prayers.  He asked  that we pray for the people of his diocese, and to also pray for the priests of the diocese  who work so hard and who have left their homes and families to do God's work.  Finally he asked, "And pray for me."  

Yes, Bishop Bevard.  I will pray for you, a kind hearted and humble servant of God. I will pray for you and your Godly and holy mission.  May Our Lord and His Blessed Mother protect you and strengthen you all the days of your life.  Amen.

Special Mission Request

In your generosity please consider supporting Bishop Bevard's mission by giving to the Catholic Diocese of St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands.  You may send your donation via online banking or mail a check to:

Bishop Bevard

P.O. Box 301825

St. Thomas, V.I.  00803

Contact information:

Email:  chancery@islands.vi

We are a throw away society.  When we don’t want something, we just throw it away.
Remember the Blessed Mother always. Give everything to the Blessed Mother. She will ensure your admittance into heaven.

The Night My Mom Cut Jesus' Hair

Recently, I remembered a story that my mom told me many years ago.  I was a teenager at the time.  She came home from work  late one night and said, "Tonight I cut a man's hair and he looked just like Jesus!"  

That got my attention so I listened intently.  She continued, "He was my last client and he told me to just cut but keep his hair long."  

She said he was the best client she ever had.  He was quiet the whole time.  He didn't complain or give her a hard time.  He just sat at her station quietly.  And at the end of the service he paid and then left.  My mom never got his name and she never saw him again.

Although I will never know the story of this man, my mom's encounter with a man who had such a physical similarity to Jesus made me contemplate Jesus.  It made me realize that Jesus is always with me, and will always be with me through the best and worst of times.

This incident happened in 1997, before my mom was diagnosed with three large tumors on her spinal cord.  My mom's neurosurgeon told her she had a 75 percent chance of paralysis.  That thought put my parents on edge for many days and nights.  She was very afraid before the surgery, and suffered greatly after it.  

During my mom's time of hardship I remember a great number of family members and friends lifting her up in prayer.  That, I believe, is the beauty of prayer.  Prayer brings people together for a common good.  Prayer allows us to unite for the sake of our loved ones.  Prayer is incredibly powerful and strengthens us in the most trying of times.

Mom's surgery was a very trying time, but she made it and recovered.  And the outcome of that surgery has had many positives!  Foremost, my mom and dad's faith grew a hundred fold and they have become more devout to our Lord and his Blessed Mother.  They have also become more committed to each other.  And their faith was strengthened for all the other surgeries and trials they endured over the years.

Because they believed in God who is all loving and healing, I witnessed and I also believed.  What my mom went through would have never been possible to endure without the Lord's strength and goodness.  Without a doubt He carried their burdens.

My mom's surgery for the ependymoma  happened 20 years ago.  Today, she is feeling well (and continues to recover from a recent surgery but that's another story).   Thanks be to God we got to celebrate her 70th birthday this month of July.  

And thanks be to God for my mom's beautiful life and for Jesus reminding us of His abundant love and blessings.  

Because they believed in God who is all loving and healing, I witnessed and I also believed.