Monthly Archives: February 2016

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No Fear In Love

There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and he who fears is not perfected in love.”

1 John 4:18

I came across this verse my junior year of college. It resonated deep within my soul and I brought it into every conversation I possibly could; so much so that when I would start to quote it to my friends they would join me, in a joking manner, like I was a broken record. There was and is a beauty to it that I couldn’t put my finger on until recently.

If I went around asking people what they were afraid of, I bet many would say: death, losing their job, becoming bankrupt or homeless, being alone, etc. But how many of us would say, surrendering to God’s will or allowing God to use us in ways that we cannot even fathom. Often times, I wonder if we think about how intimidating that could be. Take the Apostles for example and imagine yourself in their shoes. You’re spending all of your time with Jesus, and one day He looks at you and says, “But I tell you the truth, it is better for you that I go. For if I do not go, the Advocate will not come to you” (John 16:7).

Fast forward to the 20th chapter of John and we find the Apostles locked in an upper room for fear of the Jews, essentially for fear of death. They just spent 3 years with Jesus to preach the Kingdom of God, not to hide in a room. Jesus comes to them and His first words are, “Peace be with you” (John 20:19). A few verses later, Jesus breathes on them the gift of the Holy Spirit. It is now, and only now, that the Holy Spirit, the Love of God, has taken away their fear and will soon give to them the gifts to fulfill the mission they have been given (Matt. 28:19, Acts 2).   There is no fear in love because there is no fear in the Holy Spirit – the manifestation of the Love between the Father and the Son.

In my own life, I know often times I am fearful of what truly surrendering means for my life – ‘What if I mess up your plan, God?’, ‘What if this isn’t what’s best for me?’, ‘What if I don’t feel ready?’– but at the end of the day, it’s not about me, what I want or what I think I’m capable of because God’s grace is sufficient. (2 Corinthians 12:9) There’s something freeing in knowing that, in the words of Mother Teresa, “God doesn’t require us to succeed, He only requires that you try.” We simply have to be open, as the Apostles were, to the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

I recently came across a project that Fr. Dave Pivonka, TOR is doing called “The Wild Goose”. This project is “a simple attempt to invite Catholic Christians into a more profound life giving relationship with the Holy Spirit”. I invite you to check out the website and watch the first few segments. They will inspire and stir up within you a deeper relationship with the Holy Spirit, who removes fear so that we can live Love perfectly.

“Stir in me a love that’s deep / A love that’s wide / A love that’s sweet. / And help me Lord to never keep it to myself / And if my heart should dimly burn / And if my feet should fail to run / Call my name and I will come right back to You.”

No Fear In Love by Steffany Gretzinger

 

Come, Holy Spirit, Come. Amen.

 

Written by: Alycia
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Hearts Afire

Our hearts were created (though I am no scientist, in fact quite far from it) to pump our life’s blood to and throughout our bodies that we may have the oxygen we need everywhere to live. More than the physical organic functioning of our hearts, its true purpose is far more necessary in order for us to remain fully alive. The human heart created in the image and likeness of God was created to be filled with Christ, that it may love, be loved, praise our Lord and be set aflame to serve. Without this flame of Love, this flame of service, this flame of Christ – the heart is deadened little by little and though it continue beating and is organically alive, spiritually it is filled with a deep poverty.

How often do we ponder our own interior lives, our heart. Self-reflection is a beautiful part of the life of the Catholic. It leads us to a knowledge of our weaknesses, failures and sins – yes. More than this knowledge it leads us to a deeper understanding of love, joy, peace and Christ’s indwelling within us. As we reflect more on this indwelling within us we are then challenged to consider how we live like Christ in our daily lives.

Do I wear my frustrations, ways of thinking differently or even my unnecessary sensitivities on my sleeve or do I wear compassion, self-sacrifice, and the love of Christ there? Often Blessed Mother Teresa spoke of seeing the Face of Jesus in the poorest of the poor, of seeing Christ in them and also being Christ to them. In this self-reflection, do we strive to bring Christ to all people and also to see Christ in them, even when it is most difficult? Is this true flame of my life’s blood flowing out in my daily life or am I resting in spiritual poverty?

Spend some time if you are able in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament at Adoration and if you can’t make it there reflect on an image of it. Even in the Monstrance the symbol of Christ’s outpouring of love to humanity is present – in the rays that extend from its center, which hold our Lord, body, blood, soul, and divinity.

Now take this meditation of the monstrance and your self-reflection of Christ’s indwelling within you and place your heart into the center of the Monstrance. For Christ is the source and summit of our faith and if we live this each day then He is not only in its center but also comprises the deepest parts of our heart. What in this meditation do you see in your heart and what rays do you see coming forth from it? Not for self-adoration do we make this prayer but for self-reflection. Can my heart be placed where Christ is? Will my heart bring Christ to those I meet? Is Christ my center and deepest recess? Is my heart afire for Christ? Am I aware of His indwelling within me? Is my heart fully alive in Christ?  

Lord, fill my heart anew with your Love. Let it radiate your rays of love, joy, peace, mercy, compassion, and unconditional service. Set my heart aflame that I may do your will and be fully alive in you more and more in all that I do. Amen.

 

Written by Nicolette

 

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Live A Holy Lent

 Ah, Lent. We meet again.

It’s funny to me how when I was younger lent simply seemed to be the time of year to give up chocolate and ice cream, and the more disciplined you were during these forty days was rewarded back to you when Easter came – the more eggs you got, the more well behaved you must have been!

Such a childish thought.

However, on this Ash Wednesday, I find my heart in a very different place with a greater understanding of what lent really is. It’s not a competition of who can give up the most things. It’s not a time to let my pride swoop in and show everyone around me what I can accomplish. It’s not about the reward that awaits me in this world. It’s a time for humility. It’s a time for Jesus. Not for me. What I do these next forty days is not about me at all. In a sense, yes, it is a time to deepen my relationship with Our Lord, but in reality, every day is the time for that. Lent is a special time for me to give back to my Savior who gave it all for me. A time to little myself in light of the Cross. A time to declare that Jesus is really my all in all, my King and my Lord, because nothing on this earth is more important to me than Him.

We let go of things that we have become attached to so that we may strengthen our attachment to the Good Shepherd. We pour out the things that we have used to fill ourselves up, so that we may be filled again from the Chalice. We give back to the Redeemer all that He has blessed us with in our ever day lives, things that we may have just become so used to that we have forgotten what life is like without them. We die for Him because we love Him.

This doesn’t mean we become concerned with how much we are giving up. The focus should be more on the hurt in the sacrifice. What does it cost you? What does it mean to you? You could do something so small that no one around you notices, but you feel it in a big way. Lent is the invitation for us to lay down our life for our Friend. So what is it in your life that can cause you to feel this death? How will you respond to this invitation?

Our prayers are with all of you during these next forty days. May this time of suffering and sacrifice lead you to a deeper union with our Christ Crucified. May you take part in His death so that you may share in the glory of the Resurrection to come!

A blessed and holy lent to you all.

 

Written by: Lindsey
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Smile!

 

 

Mother Teresa often talks or writes about smiling.  “Peace begins with a smile.” “…the

smile is the beginning of love.” “I will never understand all the good that a simple smile

can accomplish” 

MT

This is not our image. You can find it here.

 

And two of my favorites:

“Be brave and keep smiling.  You know He loves you with a tender, eternal love.”

“…the way He has chosen for you is the true way. So smile.  Smile at the Hand that

strikes you – kiss the Hand that is nailing you to the Cross….Be like a little lamb – smile

at everyone.”

Some moments the struggle can be overwhelming to turn up those two corners of my

mouth into a genuine smile that shines from within.  It really can be an act of bravery to

win that war with myself, to let joy and self-forgetfulness triumph, and to be that light

for others.  But what a difference it makes!  Here are some interesting facts about

smiles:

 

“We’re born to do it. A smile is one of the most basic, biologically uniform

expressions of all humans. Paul Ekman, the world’s leading expert on

facial expressions, discovered that smiles are cross-cultural and have

the same meaning in different societies. 3-D ultrasound technology

shows that developing babies appear to smile even in the womb. The

mood-boosting power of a smile is unfathomable. Studies show that one

smile can provide the same level of brain stimulation as up to 2,000

chocolate bars. Yet, unlike lots of chocolate, lots of smiling can actually

make you healthier. :)”  from www.dailygood.org

 

So today, smile for your family, smile for your co-workers, smile for those who make you

not want to smile.  Smile for yourself and for the Lord who knows you and loves you

with a tender and eternal love!

 
Written by: Kristen
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