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This makes me think… Jesus is the friend who always has the time…

“There is always a way open to each of the faithful: the way of prayer. Whoever sincerely believes the words “Ask and you shall receive” is given consolation and courage to persevere in every need. Even if it is not the immediate help which, to some extent, the person conceives of and desires, help does come.

For every Catholic there lies ready an immeasurable treasure: the proximity of the Lord in the holy sacrifice and in the most holy sacrament of the altar. Whoever is imbued with a lively faith in Christ present in the tabernacle, whoever knows that a friend awaits here constantly – always with the time, patience, and sympathy to listen to complaints, petitions, and problems, with counsel and help in all things – this person cannot remain desolate and forsaken even under the greatest difficulties. He always has a refuge where quietude and peace can again be found.”

Edith Stein, Edith Stein, Collected Works II, Essays on Women

(Later known as St Teresa Benedicta of the Cross)

Saints and their love of Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament (Some quotes to keep!)

Saints and their love of Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament (Some quotes to keep!)

This post is created for my Among Women listeners, with whom I’ve discussed these quotes on the most recent podcast. However, all readers may enjoy it too. Since Among Women profiles the faith of women, only women saints listed below. These are saints whose bios I’ve profiled on previous episodes, linked below.

“Go and find Him when your patience and strength run out and you feel alone and helpless.  Jesus is waiting for you in the chapel.  Say to Him, ‘Jesus, you know exactly what is going on. You are all I have, and you know all things. Come to my help.’  And then go, and don’t worry about how you are going to manage.  That you have told God about it is enough.  He has a good memory.”

St. Jeanne Jugan
Hear my profile of this saint on Among Women 29.

  “How sweet, the presence of Jesus to the longing and harassed soul! He is instant peace and balm to every wound.”


also…

“There is a mystery, the greatest of all mysteries—not that my adored Lord is in the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar—His word has said it, and what so simple as to take that word which is truth itself?—but that souls of His own creation, whom He gave His life to save, who are endowed with His choicest gifts in all things else, should remain blind, insensible, and deprived of that light without which every other blessing is unavailing!”

St. Elizabeth Ann Seton
Hear my profile on this saint on Among Women 39.

 “Come to the foot of the altar. Graces will be shed on all, great and little, especially upon those who seek for them.”


 and…

“Whenever I go to the chapel, I put myself in the presence of our good Lord, and I say to him, ‘Lord, I am here.  Tell me what you would have me to do’ . . . And then, I tell God everything that is in my heart.  I tell him about my pains and my joys, and then I listen.  If you listen, God will also speak to you, for with the good Lord, you have to both speak and listen.  God always speaks to you when you approach him plainly and simply.”

St. Catherine Laboure
Hear my profile on this saint on Among Women 138.

“The Eucharist bathes the tormented soul in light and love. Then the soul appreciates these words, ‘Come all you who are sick, I will restore your health’.”

St. Bernadette Soubirous
Hear my profile on this saint on Among Women 53.

 

“Do you realize that Jesus is there in the Blessed Sacrament expressly for you, for you alone? He burns with the desire to come into your heart.”


and

“Frequently, only silence can express my prayer.  However, this Divine Guest of the tabernacle understands all, even the silence of a child’s soul filled with gratitude.  When I am before the tabernacle, I can say only one thing to Our Lord: ‘My God, you know that I love you’ and I feel my prayer does not tire Jesus.”


St Therese of Lisieux
Listen to my profiles on this saint on Among Women 9Among Women 86, and Among Women 165.

“When you look at the Crucifix, you understand how much Jesus loved you then. When you look at the Sacred Host you understand how much Jesus loves you now.”

Blessed Mother Theresa of Calcutta
Listen to my profile on this saint on Among Women 15, Among Women 26, and Among Women 126.

Advent Journal Entry: Mt 11: 4… “what you hear and see”

Here I am with another Advent journal entry. You can read my earlier entries from week one here, and week two here.

:::

John the Baptist offers one of my most favorite lines in reference to Christ from the New Testament: “He must increase, and I must decrease. (Jn 3:30)”  I think it is an accurate summary of the Christian life. I’m thinking of him, as he made an appearance in last Sunday’s gospel. But I digress.

:::

In the Gospel for the Third Sunday of Advent, we hear some of the final words of John the Baptist from his imprisonment before his death. He is the forerunner, the one who is making ready the path for the Savior who is to come. John sends word to Jesus, and asks forthrightly, “Are you the one….?”

Jesus does not answer with a simple yes to John’s question. He describes the powerful miracles he works as an affirmative and unmistakeable reply.

When John the Baptist heard in prison of the works of the Christ,
he sent his disciples to Jesus with this question,
“Are you the one who is to come,
or should we look for another?”
Jesus said to them in reply,
“Go and tell John what you hear and see:
the blind regain their sight,
the lame walk,
lepers are cleansed,
the deaf hear,
the dead are raised,
and the poor have the good news proclaimed to them.
And blessed is the one who takes no offense at me.” (Mt 11:2-6)

I’ve mentioned here before that this Advent I’m asking the Lord for what in particular he wants to show me each week. This week, it’s a way to evangelize… how to share the truth about Jesus: “Go and tell… what you hear and see…”

Yes, I am internalizing the words of this particular gospel for myself, asking what do these words of Jesus say to me? I am already convinced: I already believe he is The One. So what must I do? Give evidence of this faith.

How should I share this truth of the saving love of Jesus with another person? For starters, by sharing what I hear and see about Jesus.

How does Jesus work in my life? What do I hear and see?

:::

I’m so very grateful that I heard the gospel proclaimed boldly when I was a teen. On a retreat in my parish, given by several Spirit-filled adults and teens, I gave my heart to Jesus. Decades later, my commitment to Jesus must continually be renewed, at Mass and through the sacraments, and through my daily prayer and actions. Part of that is giving witness to what I hear and see.

My adult life has been punctuated with many physical maladies, so its really no surprise that I pay attention to Jesus’ words of healing in this gospel. It’s also no surprise when I find there is more going on besides.

After a year of recurring chalazion cysts in my eyes, one day in prayer I felt Jesus nudging me to find another eye doctor, to get a second opinion. It was the right move: I’ve recently been diagnosed with ocular rosacea. (I never heard of that before! I don’t have skin rosacea either!) Yet Jesus is helping me heal slowly from it, with medication and diet. Some days this is slowing down my work and my pace of life, but I’m getting by, and grateful for a solid diagnosis. Blindness in my life need not be related to physical sight, it can be spiritual too… I can be blind to the needs of others due to my own selfishness and pride, or blind to my own laziness at times. Jesus has been trying to cure me of that too, in his direct, yet gentle ways.

In one chapter my book, Blessed, Beautiful, and Bodacious, I wrote about a kind of lameness that I’ve experienced for many years. A congenital deformity — bi-lateral hip dyplasia — has led to one hip replacement in my 40s, and another one to come in the future. What a gift to finally be able to walk straight after my hip got repaired in 2008. Before that point, I often used a cane and limped. I thanked God for using medical science to bring me relief from that lameness and pain. Recently, there are more signs that the other hip, similarly afflicted, is deteriorating. There are days when the pain gets the best of me. Jesus is even using this somehow — especially when I remember to offer it up for the needs of others. He’s reminding me that lameness of spirit is a more deforming and detrimental condition than my hip. So he is calling me to daily disciplines that are designed to build up spiritual muscle in the meantime.Acer Image

I’ve never met a leper, though I know the disease still exists — but I know what it is to have a disease nobody wants. My breast cancer diagnosis in my 30’s left me pretty scared and beat up. Yet here I am, still chugging with double digit years of survivorship. Jesus saw me through that painful time too. I write about some of that in my book too. Cancer is the club that nobody wants to join. Just this month my husband was diagnosed with melanoma, the worst form of skin cancer. Yet despite the shock I felt that morning when he got the call, we were both already on our way to Mass that morning — the very best place we could be. Jesus gave us strength that day. We are grateful that Bob has an early stage of the disease. It was caught very early and is treatable by surgery.

Some people might look at my life and not see a single miracle in any of this stuff I’ve shared. And you’d be right… there were no miraculous restorations to my former health, just ways of keeping me alive, and dealing with illness and disability… both physical and spiritual. Yet, the depth of my gratitude, my blessings, and my joys are innumerable. Jesus has seen me through. He guides my steps. He re-aligns my faltering ones. My life is on his timetable, not mine. I belong to him. He’s the One who is the source of all my good.

If I’m looking for miracle, I can tell you where I find one.

The real miracle is Jesus’ Real Presence in the Eucharist at every Mass, or in Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. No matter what shape you’re in, no matter the highs and lows in your own life… go to Him. Spend time with Him there.

Then tell me what you hear and see.

Then tell someone else.

It’s all about Jesus. His presence in the Host is the door to the infinite… my latest column at Patheos

IMG_0617Today the optional memorial in the Church calendar is the Holy Name of Jesus. It’s not only the name for Our Lord and Savior, it makes a perfect prayer… “Jesus”.  Here’s my own little homage to Jesus for today… a sampling from my column at Patheos…

When I consider the proximity of Jesus to me personally in the Mass, and in particular when I sit in front of the Blessed Sacrament, that’s what warms my heart toward his; to know that his heart is first turned toward me, that his heart burns for mine.

When I humbly kneel or sit in front of the Blessed Sacrament elevated in the monstrance, I’m looking into a holy portal to the other side of all we can hope and imagine. The host in the monstrance is, out of its element, in suspended animation. Its bread was consecrated so that it might be consumed and receive by a communicant—to strengthen them with the very body and blood, soul and divinity of Jesus Christ. It is destined, still, to be Holy Communion that nourishes and becomes part of its recipient. Yet, for the moment, that purpose is delayed, as the Church in her wisdom “exposes” the Incarnate One on the Altar that we might draw near to the very love that beats for us, from the heart that gave all.

This is why it’s called Adoration.

When we come face to face with heart of this love, we learn what it means to adore. True adoration brings an intimate knowledge we cannot find on our own. In adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, we get a foretaste of the infinite, a prolonged visitation of the True Presence outside of the Mass. Within that thin opaque portal, the Host holds all we need to know and can imagine.

I admit I cannot often describe what goes on in those moments of prayer. But in my finite knowledge of the ways of love I fathom it as my heart “seeing” the face of Jesus, the heart of Jesus, the hands of Jesus—all the infinite Good that my heart can hold. And I can almost imagine passing through the veil between heaven and earth.

The rest is here.

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Here’s a little bonus for the feast day in honor of the Most Holy Name of Jesus… (I’ve long loved this simple song from Margaret Becker.)

 

Remembering my thanksgivings, with a proverbial string around my finger

Remembering my thanksgivings, with a proverbial string around my finger

Ever keep a song on your playlist for 10 years or more? For me, this is one of those…

Did you listen to it?

Since it came out in 2000, every single time, I’m convicted by that lyric… “You are faithful, I’m forgetful.” It’s so true that I often just breeze by Christ, who is standing smack dab in the middle of my daily grind, and I miss his Presence. For me, this song calls me back to thanksgiving, every time. It’s often a song I play in the car on my way to adoration on Fridays. It’s a reminder of the wonder of adoration and the heart that calls unto to me whenever I’m there. But its a reminder to come back to Him. Daily. Over and over again. To not miss the moments that He is in. To ask him for reminders for my eyes to see that He is faithful.

I played this song again today, as I went for a walk down the country lane, as I prayed to keep Christ hidden in the center of my “to do” list for this holiday weekend. There is so much to do, and I’m already fretting I’m not getting it all done. That’s why I escaped to pray and walk and think, being mindful of what St Francis de Sales counsels. St Frank taught that a lay person ought to pray 30 minutes a day, and a busy person ought to pray an hour! (I’m trusting the logic of the saints here, big time.)

Walking back home I’m again convicted and called to make this thanksgiving weekend one in which I do not forget Him or His love for me, as I revel in the love of our crazy family reunions… yes, to see Him in their faces, every one. To even to keep a secret quiet place in my heart where His love is Present even when we are in lines of long traffic jams, or elbow deep in greasy dishes and clean up from feeding the families, or making various other small sacrifices that come when families travel far and near to be together.

“God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.” (1 Cor 1:9)

There are so many things to be grateful for this year….

There are my 30 years with this man…

And this amazing threesome…

And all the treasures of this past year… including another kiddo out of college…

(and with a good job, thankfully!)

And another studying at a great university that is restoring what it means to be a transformative Catholic institution… and who is excited to go to Mass here…

And the discovery that I now have a future son-in-love… (though we had guessed it might come to pass eventually).

You’ve probably heard this, but there are some cool things have been happening in my little corner of the writing world…

And as I pray, I’m grateful to live where I live and to know the good friends that I have both here in New England and around the country. Your friendship is like a tranquil oasis that soothes my erratic heart, and helps bring me near to Him. (A shout out to all the Among Women community too!)

So if you pass me by somewhere this weekend, don’t look for the string around my finger, look for the silly grin of gratitude.

Happy Thanksgiving from my house to yours!