Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Favorite Icon of the Blessed Mother for 2009

Our Lady of Sitka

This icon is special to me because of the image of our Heavenly Father above Our Lady and Our Savior. I love images of Him! I have such love for Him in my heart and to actually be able to see an image of Him gives me so much joy.

I discovered this image of Our Lady of Sitka, when I went to the Franciscan Monastery in Washington D.C. last summer. After going to confession, I went to the bookstore and found this image on a holy card. On the front it says Our Lady of Sitka, Miraculous Icon of America. On the back it says... Zealous Defender of the Faithful in America. It also states "The Miraculous icon of America is prayed to for healing of respiratory diseases and in order to find a job" The prayer on the back is so beautiful....

Let us hasten,

O people, to the Virgin Mother of God and Queen.

Giving thanks unto Christ our God

And gazing at Her wonderworking icon

let us humbly fall down and sing to Her:

O Lady Mary, Thou has visited our land

through Thine honorable image,

In peace and good season saving all Christians,

Showing them to be heirs of heavenly life in God.

Therefore, with faith we sing to Thee,

Our Lady of Sitka:

Rejoice, O Virgin, the Salvation of the World.

I keep this image on my desk and venerate it often. FIAT. I ask that my true vocation be always revealed in my heart and the grace to live it in my consecration to the hearts of Jesus and Mama Mary.

Happy New Year!

This new year is very exciting for me...In converting to Roman Catholicism, I love the examination of conscience, going to confession and the healing of praying the Act of Contrition. Which has inspired me to examine many areas of my life. Looking back over this past year, I have grown tremendously in thoughts and in deeds! I've learned to except people where they are and to let go and let God. I am spending my New Years Eve in my room journaling and goal setting. This past year has truly laid the groundwork for the new year ahead of me. Living in a constant state of grace has gained me so much peace and strength to overcome, but as I was reflecting earlier today I had a little dash of fear come over me as I was thinking ahead and instantly I was so thankful for my bible baptist and pentecostal background, for I truly have God's word stamped on my heart. As I had fear, a verse from Psalms 119 came into my heart and that was: "Thy word have I hid in my heart, that I may not sin against Thee." In this age of confusion, God's word brings me everything I need for survival in living out the sacramental life. Its my herbal tea for my heart and the honey to soul as I surf the waves of life. The waves at times, seem to be many, but the beauty is the God that created this world and all therein, is in control. No matter what humanist try to infiltrate in our daily lives. Our Lady of Sitka, pray for us!

I used to read the King James version and Now I only read the Douay-Rheims, not for theological reasons, for the very reason that I love the "King James/Old English" language. As a matter of fact the passage that I quoted is Psalms 118 in the DR version. Verses 9 - 16 are so beautiful that I must share:

9. But what doth a young man correct his way? By observing thy words.

10.With my whole heart have I sought after Thee: let me not stray from thy commandments.

11. Thy words have I hidden in my heart, that I may not sin against thee.

12. Blessed art thou, O Lord: teach me thy justifications.

13. With my lips I have pronounced all the judgments of thy mouth.

14. I have been delighted in the way of thy testimonies, as in all riches.

15. I will meditate on thy commandments: and I will consider thy ways.

16. I will think of thy justifications: I will not forget thy words.

This has been my favorite video of Mama Mary that I found on You Tube. So in honor of her I wanted to post it here. I'm having difficulty in downloading it on this blog here is the link..


Sunday, October 12, 2008

St. Bridget of Sweden

Indulging in the writings of St Birgita of Sweden for over a week, her feast day being last Wednesday, she truly is a woman to admire. The website contains all of her books of which I have gleaned some really good wisdom.
To share some food from her writings, below is one chapter from one of her books, sorry its long, I just can't chop it up. Its like a painting if I pull something from it you can't see the whole picture. My heart just grows so much for Mama Mary reading this....

The glorious Virgin's words explaining her humility to her daughter, and about how humility is likened to a cloak, and about the characteristics of true humility and its wonderful fruits.
Book 2 - Chapter 23
Many people wonder why I speak with you. It is, of course, to show my humility. If a member of the body is sick, the heart is not content until it has regained its health, and once its health is restored the heart is all the more gladdened. In the same way, however much a person may sin, if he turns back to me with all his heart and a true purpose of amendment, I am immediately prepared to welcome him when he comes. Nor do I pay attention to how much he may have sinned but to the intention and purpose he has when he returns.
Everyone calls me 'Mother of mercy.' Truly, my daughter, the mercy of my Son has made me merciful and the disclosure of his mercy has made me compassionate. For that reason, that person is miserable who, when she or he is able, does not have recourse to mercy. Come, therefore, my daughter, and hide yourself beneath my cloak! My cloak is contemptible on the outside but very useful on the inside, for three reasons. First, it shelters you from the stormy winds; second, it protects you from the burning cold; third, it defends you against the rain-showers from the sky.
This cloak is my humility. The lovers of the world hold this in contempt and think that imitating it is a silly superstition. What is more contemptible than to be called an idiot and not to get angry or answer in kind? What is more despicable than the giving up of everything and being in every way poor? What seems sorrier to worldly souls than to conceal one's own pain and to think and believe oneself unworthier and lowlier than everyone else? Such was my humility, my daughter. This was my joy, this my one desire. I only thought of how to please my Son. This humility of mine was useful for those who followed me in three ways.
First, it was useful in pestilent and stormy weather, that is, against human taunts and scorn. A powerful and violent storm wind pounds a person from all directions and makes him freeze. In the same way, taunting easily crushes an impatient person who does not reflect on future realities; it drives the soul away from charity. Anyone carefully studying my humility should consider the kinds of things I, the Queen of the universe, had to hear, and so he should seek my praise and not his own.
Let him recall that words are nothing but air and he will soon grow calm. Why are worldly people so unable to put up with verbal taunts, if not because they seek their own praise rather than God's? There is no humility in them, because their eyes are made bleary by sin. Therefore, although the written law says one should not without due cause give one's ear to insulting speech or put up with it, still it is a virtue and a prize to listen patiently to and put up with insults for the sake of God.
Second, my humility is a protection from the burning cold, that is, from carnal friendship. For there is a kind of friendship in which a person is loved for the sake of present commodities, like those who speak in this way: 'Feed me for the present and I will feed you, for it is no concern of mine who feeds you after death! Give me respect and I will respect you, for it does not concern me in the least what kind of future respect there is to come.' This is a cold friendship without the warmth of God, as hard as frozen snow as regards loving and feeling compassion for one's fellow human being in need, and sterile is its reward.
Once a partnership is broken up and the desks are cleared away, the usefulness of that friendship immediately disappears and its profit is lost. Whoever imitates my humility, though, does good to everyone for the sake of God, to enemies and friends alike: to his friends, because they steadily persevere in honoring God; and to his enemies, because they are God's creatures and may become good in the future.
In the third place, the contemplation of my humility is a protection against rain-showers and the impurities coming from the clouds. Where do clouds come from, if not from the moisture and vapors coming from the earth? When they rise to the skies due to heat, they condense in the upper regions and, in this way, three things are produced: rain, hail, and snow. The cloud symbolizes the human body that comes from impurity. The body brings three things with it just as clouds do. The body brings hearing, seeing, and feeling. Because the body can see, it desires the things it sees. It desires good things and beautiful forms; it desires extensive possessions.
What are all these things if not a sort of rain coming from the clouds, staining the soul with a passion for hoarding, unsettling it with worries, distracting it with useless thoughts and upsetting it over the loss of its hoarded goods? Because the body can hear, it would fain hear of its own glory and of the world's friendship. It listens to whatever is pleasant for the body and harmful to the soul. What do all these things resemble if not swiftly melting snow, making the soul grow cold toward God and blear-eyed as to humility?
Because the body has feeling, it would fain feel its own pleasure and physical rest. What does this resemble if not hail that is frozen from impure waters and that renders the soul unfruitful in the spiritual life, strong as regards worldly pursuits and soft as regards physical comforts? Therefore, if a person wants protection from this cloud, let him run for safety to my humility and imitate it. Through it, he is protected from the passion for seeing and does not desire illicit things; he is protected from the pleasure of hearing and does not listen to anything that goes against the truth; he is protected from the lust of the flesh and does not succumb to illicit impulses.
I assure you: The contemplation of my humility is like a good cloak that warms those wearing it; I mean those who not only wear it in theory but also in practice. A physical cloak does not give any warmth unless it is worn. Likewise, my humility does no good to those who just think about it, unless each one strives to imitate it, each in his own way. Therefore, my daughter, don the cloak of humility with all your strength, since worldly women wear cloaks that are a proud thing on the outside but are of little use on the inside. Avoid such garments altogether, since, if the love of the world does not first become abhorrent to you, if you are not continually thinking of God's mercy toward you and your ingratitude toward him, if you do not always have in mind what he has done and what you do, and the just sentence that awaits you in return, you will not be able to comprehend my humility.
Why did I humble myself so much or why did I merit such favor, if not because I considered and knew myself to be nothing and to have nothing in myself? This is also why I did not seek my own glory but only that of my Donor and Creator. Therefore, daughter, take refuge in the cloak of my humility and think of yourself as a sinner beyond all others! For, even if you see others who are wicked, you do not know what their future will be like tomorrow; you do not even know their intention or their awareness of what they are doing, whether they do it out of weakness or deliberately. This is why you should not put yourself ahead of anyone and why you must not judge anyone in your heart."

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Humility | Four Steps to Humility : Catholic Healing Psychology

I'm doing some research on "True Humility" vs "False Humility" and I came across this. I found this site a few years ago and it has excellent resources for quitting any addiction. Humility Four Steps to Humility : Catholic Healing Psychology: "Difference Between Humility and Masochism
To live in humility is to live always in total confidence of God’s love, protection, and guidance and therefore to have no concern for yourself when others insult you—or praise you. Secure in God’s love, you don’t have to base your identity on whether or not others acknowledge you.
In masochism, on the other hand, you invite others to insult you because, as a psychological defense against the pain of deep emotional wounds, you take unconscious pleasure in being demeaned in the secret hope that you will somehow, someday, earn someone’s admiration for your willingness to endure painful abuse.
Therefore, whereas masochism, and all false humility, burdens the soul, genuine humility brings enlightenment to the soul and frees it from all that would obstruct its service to God."

Saint Teresa of Avila

Now be on your guard, daughters, against some types of humility given by the devil in which great disquiet is felt about the gravity of our sins. This disturbance can afflict in many ways even to the point of making one give up receiving Communion and practicing private prayer. These things are given up because the devil makes one feel unworthy. . . . The situation gets so bad that the soul thinks God has abandoned it because of what it is; it almost doubts His mercy. . . .
Humility does not disturb or disquiet or agitate, however great it may be; it comes with peace, delight, and calm. . . . The pain of genuine humility doesn’t agitate or afflict the soul; rather, this humility expands it and enables it to serve God more.

St. Therese of the Child Jesus

"Each time that my enemy would provoke me to fight I behave like a brave soldier. I know that a duel is an act of cowardice, and so, without once looking him in the face, I turn my back on the foe, hasten to my Saviour, and vow that I am ready to shed my blood in witness of my belief in Heaven." -St Therese
Today is the feast day of St. excellent source for information regarding this beloved saint is on EWTN. She was the first saint I remember reaching out to. Way before my conversion I went to the National Shrine in Washington DC, I was about 17 and I received a How to pray the rosary and a little paper about St. Therese, I stuck it away in my wallet. I wasn't until about 8 years later that I pulled it out and started to read it.
The link to the EWTN St Therese