Tag Archives: Jesus

Indelible Mark +

It was in a bible study class from my parish, where I first learned about the indelible mark.

Catechism of the Catholic Church 1121 : The three sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Orders confer, in addition to grace, a sacramental character or "seal" by which the Christian shares in Christ's priesthood and is made a member of the Church according to different states and functions. This configuration to Christ and to the Church, brought about by the Spirit, is indelible, it remains for ever in the Christian as a positive disposition for grace, a promise and guarantee of divine protection, and as a vocation to divine worship and to the service of the Church. Therefore these sacraments can never be repeated.

The clarity of this mark became known to me in my early 40s.  The whole time before that I had no idea what it meant.

Once I learned of this love that deciphers us from the world, it made my heart grow in a sense that the family, the Church, widen up to a bigger picture.

At times, when I walk around my city, or in the Church pews, or when I’m traveling, I often receive an emotion of peace and a strength because even though I can’t see that others are also marked I know among them they are around me.


For me, it’s a badge of honor, coat of arms,  military colors, a wedding band.  It helps me remember who I am to be.

In my family, I don’t recall anyone ever mentioning the significance of this mark and how very important I should keep myself reminded of it.  I can’t fully blame my immediate family because my parents carried their faith into our lives on how they received it.  No one dug deep into the faith.

I feel because of what God has given me, the knowledge I have to this point, the fire/zeal to learn about the faith, makes me responsible for sharing it. We all are called to.

What a precious gift we’ve been given in these sacraments where the ‘mark’ is given.  How even when we do the Sign of the Cross, it’s a pronounced action of what is already transfixed in us.

I recall a bible study that explains when the end of time comes, Our Lord will identify us by this indelible mark.

Revelation 7:4 I heard the number of those who had been marked with the seal, one hundred and forty-four thousand marked* from every tribe of the Israel.

The work from those with this mark have much to do.  Until the very end, our lives need to keep proclaiming for God’s will to be done.  Often at times in my life, I feel like I could be doing more.  But I recognize I have allowed fear to halt the work and all I can do is ask God to get me where He wants me to be and remove whatever barrier(s) are preventing me from living out my purpose.

I value more the fact that when I rise in the morning, the first thing I do is the Sign of the Cross.  This is how I begin my day and end it.

Lord God, this day, and everyday, may we live out the indelible mark. +

 

Sacré-Cœur – Paris, France

My cousin is currently touring Paris and her experiences she’s been sharing, made me think of our time there.

Before going to Paris, I of course, checked off the places I wanted to visit.  My husband only had one desire and that was the Latin District because of their food.  We for sure went there…twice!

On the day we visited Galleries Lafayette, we headed out of this magnificent shopping center to find a place to eat.  We walked, walked, slow walked, fumbled, and began finding ourselves frustrated.  From leaving the Galleries, we thought for sure we would run into a nice bistro, but for some reason we kept making turns into more buildings that didn’t provide any food or drink.  We were lost!!!

So as my husband said “let’s just go down this way and if we don’t find anything, we’ll find a cab and go back to an area we know”.  Fine.  I agreed as I was dizzy and hungry.

So we walked and found some passers-by.  Shops started to appear here and there. Next thing we see, is a cafe.  Meats and cheeses. Breads. Olives. Jams. And of course, wine!!  We had no idea that we were now in Montmarte.

We felt like we died and gone to heaven. Right away, the waiter provides us a table facing outward to the street. Sets us up and gives us full attention. The bites were delicious!!! My husband and I couldn’t believe how delighted and joyful we were at what we stumbled upon.  And while we were almost done, I remember peeking out towards the right and looking up in between some high trees and noticed a steeple.  I couldn’t believe what my eyes were showing me.  So I focused again. Then I asked the waiter, “is that Sacre-Coeur?????”  He said, “Yes!”

I jumped out of my seat and told my husband, we got to go! It’s not that far and we are already so close. We can’t let go of this opportunity.  Good thing the food refueled us. We were now on our way to this historic church that I only read about and had marked down on my planner to see, but due to time and it appearing that it was not going to be in our radius to visit, I had scratched it off and figured, we wouldn’t see it.

We arrived in about 10 minutes.

It was everything I thought it would be.  We stood there at the bottom of the steps and admired it.  My husband was ready to move on and I said…”we have to go inside.”  He said, “the only way in is by these steps.”  I said, “let’s go!”  To reach top, it took 270 steps.  The views were amazing.   There were many visitors around just enjoying this spot.  You could see the city clearly on this late afternoon.

We get to the line where people are forming to go inside the church.  And as we get closer, there’s a big sign stating “NO CAMERAS, NO VIDEO, NO PICTURES PLEASE!”  I wish I could’ve taken pictures inside.  Even now, it’s hard for me to remember what I saw and wished I would’ve written it down.  But I do recall it’s design and thinking it didn’t look like most cathedrals from that time.  The altars made me wonder who had come to pray at them.  The main altar glistened in gold. The candles flickered  in every direction. The respect inside was evident.  You were in a sacred space.  My husband and I prayed and thanked God for bringing us here.

How is it that we ended up in this spot?  All the wrong ways we thought we were taking and yet they were not.  The recognition was fully there that Our Gracious God had led us to Sacre-Coeur.   To experience not only this basilica, but to embrace its name as well.  This basilica is dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.  What it is, what it stands for, speaks to our visit there more than just taking in its views.  But from what my husband and I experienced in our time of marriage, what I experienced in my 40 years of life (trip was a birthday and anniversary celebration) was hallmarked in this adventure.

How I ask in my prayers that our marriage be consecrated in His Most Sacred Heart.

Thank you Jesus for the glories, the graces, the adventures you have given us to not only experience for travel sake, but for the soul and our relationship to You in them all. +++

 

 

Splinter, Beam, Plank! Ouch!

Why is it people will point out what you did wrong with them, but they never take notice they’ve also did the same thing to you or maybe sinned against you as well?

Matthew 7:3 Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own eye?

Lately, I’ve been noticing much with the finger pointing, but their finger never is twisted to turn back to themselves.

It feels like many are quick to blame or show others one is wrong in life.  For some, it’s been going on for years and still no noticeable self- reflection.

A flood of thoughts come to me on this because so much of the resolve of these mind battles are answered by Jesus.  Instead of letting go of bondage to their thoughts on someone or something, they let it relish in their souls to the point where they become hardened like a chunk of cement added to their hearts.

  • Prayer
  • Self examination of conscience
  • Humility
  • Repentance
  • Reconciliation
Picture to me is profound. The outside cactus landscape depicts our sin. Thorns and dry brush. The chapel signifies to me Christ and His shelter.

All of these we are taught in our Catholic faith from our Lord Jesus. In his teaching to the apostles, from their teachings to the faithful and on.

I always try to review myself and see how I’ve fallen short. To begin with, there is no way I’m perfect, so before I start on with anyone else, I should fix me first. Don’t you think that is most of our problems? We don’t see our own sin?

One thing that is clear to me in my faith walk is if I have peace, then I have achieved some spiritual merit to a situation. That’s the ultimate result. If you’ve done the steps above and still have no peace, then there is something greater to be looked at, I believe.

Instead of adding another layer of blame to someone or something, wouldn’t it be more beneficial to let down our barriers to what forgiveness is all about. It’s not just waiting for the other person to come forward, but it also about us moving closer to Christ.

May Christ’s peace and unity rule our hearts! +++

 

Power of Prayer

Yesterday, a horrible tragedy occurred in Manchester, United Kingdom at a Ariana Grande concert.  A person vested in some kind of suicide bomb went off outside the arena killing 19 and injuring 50. That is the latest.

At first it was a bit tougher for me to latch onto the news because of the day I was having which was productive and joyous.  I first saw about this tragedy on Facebook but thought I’ll get to the news in a bit and carried on.  I feel awful to say it but it almost seemed “normal” news.

It wasn’t until a couple hours later did it sink in once I started watching the news and the video of the people running from blast.

I prayed thinking of those that died, their families, and then those suffering possibly some near death.

I thought about it some more in my night time prayer and asked Our Lord to call on His servant St. Michael to protect others from being hurt. But then I stopped for a second and thought …you know…He is. Every minute, every hour.  We are being protected. We just don’t see it in a newscast, but may hear about these good happenings through family and friends.

Like when we are driving on the highway and are protected seconds before an accident.  A doctor check up that caught a diagnosis to treat early and give us a second chance.  And I’m sure grand scale things, we as every day citizens are not aware of.

As we know,  we should always pray for the world in our daily prayers.  No matter if we think they’re working or not or how many times these awful events continue to happen.

1 THESSALONIANS 5:16-17
Rejoice always.
Pray without ceasing.

 

St. Michael the Archangel,
defend us in battle.
Be our defense against the wickedness and snares of the Devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray,
and do thou,
O Prince of the heavenly hosts,
by the power of God,
thrust into hell Satan,
and all the evil spirits,
who prowl about the world
seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.

Twist of Age

Recently a popular music artist by the name of Chris Cornell passed away. Apparent suicide.  The news was heartbreaking.  He was such a great talent to have killed himself at age 52 seems completely confusing.

Because of his passing, a slur of memories have come to mind not only from me, but also friends who during the 1980s, 90s were listening to  music like his that came out of Seattle. Grunge rock they called it!

Friends and I were used to playing music by Chris Cornell. In our cars, at home, at social events and even live shows that we would attend. We had friends who were in bands who played covers of the artists we liked.

It was rebellious.  It was loud. Went with what we were feeling at the time.

Somewhere around 1996, my music choices began to change.  In my mind I was thinking that whatever my interests were at a time that correlated to a past, I no longer wanted to hold onto.  So with a move out of the city to a bigger city, I left it.

For many years, even after my Lupus diagnosis, I kept myself from listening to music from that time. Until around 2011, when I turned 40.  I began adding the songs of  my past to my Spotify playlists.  Now I listen to it almost everyday along with other classic rock songs.

But yesterday’s tragedy of Chris Cornell’s passing got me thinking. Where are those artists today in their spiritual walk? I thought of it because I thought how awful if they also choose to take their own lives and not ever know their value that only comes from Jesus.

It also made me wonder who in the groups of friends I hung out with, whom I no longer have contact with, found Jesus.  I think of how wrong my life could’ve gone if I didn’t listen to those invisible texts in the sky from our Lord guiding me to follow Him.  Those decisions where I could have taken a road away from him but decided to one step it towards His light.

Now when I listen to music from the past, I listen to it differently.  All my gratitude where I’m at now in my life goes to Jesus in rescuing me out of darkness.

I wish these artists who unfortunately decided to take their lives were able to know the love of Jesus and could’ve written songs with the love they received from Him in their hearts.  But we will never know. So when I hear the music and their God given talent, I appreciate them on a different level.  Such mental suffering they were dealing with.   Thank God He is merciful and only He knows what happens to them at time of death.

Catechism of the Catholic Church – 2283 We should not despair of the eternal salvation of persons who have taken their own lives. By ways known to him alone, God can provide the opportunity for salutary repentance. The Church prays for persons who have taken their own lives

So this post, goes to those who are struggling with love and validation in their lives.  To allow themselves to open up and share what they’re struggling with. To seek help and think of those who will suffer without them and how very important they are to their family and friends.  Life is precious.  Whatever it is you think you know about life, will be answered better if you give it to Jesus.

Rest in peace Chris Cornell +++

 

Down the Lenten homestretch! 

Holy Week… how you all doing?

Our lenten challenges, sacrifices, and goals come to an end or continue past Easter???

I don’t know about you, but outside of the physical, my spiritual sacrifice has been difficult to conquer!

I notice that the challenge depends who I’m with. There are those that don’t put me in a spot to gossip and then there are those that provoke it. Yet either way, I’m the only one accountable.

There’s also that fine line. The white lie that tells you…”it’s ok, you’re not doing any harm speaking these things.”

I even find myself tip toeing around it. Like “oh as long as I don’t go there I’m ok and still will be able to get my point across.”

There’s also the hit over the head later reaction. Out of nowhere, it comes to you on something  said that I immediately feel regret and ask the Lord to forgive me.

So with this Lent drawing to an end, are you feeling triumphant or defeated?

I guess I feel neither. I’m better at being mindful but I’m nowhere perfect! 

I have to do better in offering my day to Lord along with prayer and daily readings. The more I involve our Lord into my day, the better off I am. In being shielded from speaking things I need to shut my mouth about.


There is a quote from I don’t know who said it but it’s relative to the 8th commandment “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor”. It says your words about another should be encouraging and not destructive.

Gossip is so easy to do. Hard for me to not say something when I’m angry with someone in how they’re treating others and I feel like I need to vent it out! It’s like a false remedy. If I say something I’ll feel better. Instead what you’re doing is adding to the darkness that already exists! Gossip can cause others to fall into the trap and sin too.

So on this Monday of Holy Week, I hope and pray that the goodness you gained in this Lent continues to grow strong. That any amount of virtue gained, points to Jesus.  May your Easter be blessed and rich in His presence. And don’t forget HIS MERCY ENDURES FOREVER!+++

What is love?

Today is Valentine’s day. My husband and I don’t celebrate it. Not because we refuse but because our anniversary is in two days – February 16. I love to shower my Godchildren, nephews, niece on this day and may splurge on some sweets for the evening but that’s about it.

On a broader subject of love on Valentine’s day, I thought I would use this day to speak about a topic that is much on the news these days.  The battle with immigration and refugees and how “love” fits into all of this.

How do Catholic Christians/Christians define love?

Being Catholic, of course, I follow many writers, speakers, educators of the faith on this topic. There’s no denying where the Church stands on helping the immigrant/refugee. Basis is emphasizing love.

It just so happens as I’m reading the news, I’ve also been battling my health. And every time I do come down with something, I can’t help to think of those who are suffering and don’t have the luxury of staying home or for that matter have a home like the refugee or the immigrant.

So in this time as I lay in bed or on the couch, I came across this post from Franklin Graham, a prominent voice for the protestant faith, on these subjects. Guess I’m a bit confused on whether his statement speaks for the protestant church as a whole or it’s just his opinion??  Anyway, I read it because I was very much interested on what his powerful position has to say.

graham

I have a problem with this.

I have a problem that he speaks about the Good Samaritan but adds his own statement on how to further deal with those who have been hurt along life’s road. I don’t recall a spot in the bible where Jesus said… “love your neighbor…..but only this much because you have to make sure your house alarm is working properly”; or “help the stranger….but only this much because you don’t want him to turn out to be a terrorist”.

The issue is not that U.S. shouldn’t be careful or cautious. The issue is knowing there is a great need in our world of people who are seeking help and us making it harder for them to live in peace and dignity as we would only want for ourselves. Yes, God doesn’t tell us to expose our cities and homes to hostile people but He also doesn’t say to just stop giving. The careful issue is how we define hostile people because I hate to say it, but today I see many “christians” being hostile to these life issues which should be viewed in the same way as protecting the life of the unborn. Life is life!

So in my heart, when Jesus said:

 Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. – Matthew 5:7

…I don’t think He had a limit on it. That’s what the whole sermon on the mount tells us and warns us.  I think those in powerful positions have to be very careful how they speak. It saddens me that there is much interpretation on what is love and how to love.

This is Love!
This is Love!