Trust in Him

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Tenth Station

V: We adore You, O Christ, and we praise You. (Genuflect)

R: Because, by Your holy cross, You have redeemed the world. (Rise)

V: Consider how Jesus was violently stripped of His clothes by His executioners. The inner garments adhered to his lacerated flesh and the soldiers tore them off so roughly that the skin came with them. Have pity for your Savior so cruelly treated and tell Him: (Kneel)

R: My innocent Jesus, / by the torment You suffered in being stripped of Your garments, / help me to strip myself of all attachment for the things of earth / that I may place all my love in You who are so worthy of my love. / I love You, O Jesus, with all my heart; / I am sorry for ever having offended You. / Never let me offend You again. / Grant that I may love You always; and then do with me as You will.

(Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be.)

Holy Mother, pierce me through
In my heart each wound renew
Of my Savior crucified.

"I will give you all this, if you will only bow down and worship me." The words slipped from his mouth as from a serpent's tongue, and as he opened his arms, all the dominions of the world were in sight. My Jesus inclined His head and said "God alone shall I worship."

As the soldiers tore off His garments, His eyes looked toward Heaven: "You alone, Father." He whispered gently. As they tore the last scrap of clothing from Him, I realized the crown of thorns was all that remained on Him. "I am a King." I heard these words in my heart. Powerful clouds were just beginning to come together in the sky... had I been anywhere else, I may have thought the sight of the gray clouds touched by sunlight to be very pleasant. But now they seemed to echo these words: "I have done you many acts of kindness, for which of these do you want to kill me?" In the silence of my heart, the words of the prophet reiterated themselves "He shall be raise high and greatly exalted. Even as many were amazed at him, so marred was his look beyond that of man." Marred indeed was His look, but His love shone Divinity.

I looked now, as if from afar, on myself. Jesus was there, and I could see all the wounds of His Passion, yet they were clean and glorified. His face was curved in emotion of love, and He asked me to please accept the heart which He offered in His hands. At first I did not realize what I was doing, but when it donned on me, I felt that I could have fallen to the ground in tears. My distant self was eating from a heavily filled plate and my eyes were glued on a television screen; I had forgotten to pray, and He was still waiting for me.

Dear Jesus, please free me from all strings and distractions which tie my wings and hinder me from flying to you at your call. Let your face be ever on my mind, and your name ever on my mind. Sweet Jesus, you have died for me, and you continue to offer me the greatest gifts of love. How could there ever be a moment in which I forget? How could there be a moment when I do not think of you? I know the pain you felt in being stripped of all that was left to you, as even your precious skin was torn from you, but you have done it willingly. My Jesus, I see you stripped of all your clothing, and I know, that all I bring with me to the grave and to eternal life is my love for you. You are a king, and you show me now what it is to possess... please, Lord, let me live in utter poverty and thus share in the only kingdom that you claimed on earth.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Ninth Station

V: We adore You, O Christ, and we praise You. (Genuflect)

R: Because, by Your holy cross, You have redeemed the world. (Rise)

V: Consider how Jesus Christ fell for the third time. He was extremely weak and the cruelty of His executioners was excessive; they tried to hasten His steps though He hardly had strength to move. (Kneel)

R: My outraged Jesus, / by the weakness You suffered in going to Calvary, / give me enough strength to overcome all human respect / and all my evil passions which have led me to despise Your friendship. / I love You, Jesus my Love, with all my heart; / I am sorry for ever having offended You. / Never permit me to offend You again. / Grant that I may love You always; and then do with me as You will.

(Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be.)

Make me feel as You have felt
Make my soul to glow and melt
With the love of Christ, my Lord.

"I am the Bread of Life, those who eat this bread, though they should die, shall live." I am utterly overcome with sorrow as I see my Jesus walking even though His strength is spent. As I gaze on His torn flesh, and His precious head so full of miseries, my faith is renewed. For if His Sacred Body was so torn for my salvation, who shall say I am not saved? If Jesus persevered through so much suffering, who is to say He cannot give me strength?

As the cross falls down heavily on the sore back of my Savior as He lies now face down on the stones, I see the pillar of fire that guided the Israelites burning in the sky. At its peak is a white dove, and as it flares its tail I see in its claws the lilies of virtue. I do not yet understand, but I fall to the ground suddenly as if the gravity of the earth had just intensified. I am weak, and I cannot rise. The dove comes down and gives me the flowers, and with them I gain strength and rise up again. Watching the guiding fire, I see it go ahead of me to Golgotha, where an alter has been prepared.

Jesus rises from the stones and moves on, so weak that he has not even his own breath to relieve His lonesomeness, because it is so quiet, but I see a light shining about His head: "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased." For a moment, I see with the eyes of God. Each step of Jesus, instead of weak and pitiful, shakes the roots of the earth. Each thought of Jesus is an act of love, and His every desire is to save those who are scorning Him.

Monday, March 29, 2010

The Eight Station

V: We adore You, O Christ, and we praise You. (Genuflect)

R: Because, by Your holy cross, You have redeemed the world. (Rise)

V: Consider how the women wept with compassion seeing Jesus so distressed and dripping with blood as he walked along. Jesus said to them, ``Weep not so much for me, but rather for Your children.'' (Kneel)

R: My Jesus, laden with sorrows, / I weep for the sins which I have committed against You / because of the punishment I deserve for them; / and, still more, because of the displeasure they have caused You / who have loved me with an infinite love. / It is Your love, more than the fear of hell, / which makes me weep for my sins. / My Jesus, I love You more than myself; / I am sorry that I have offended You. / Never allow me to offend You again. / Grant that I may love You always; and then do with me as You will.

(Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be.)

O sweet Mother! Fount of Love,
Touch my spirit from above
Make my heart with yours accord.

There is a great light and all at once there appears before me all time of the world. I see light, and the entrance of darkness. I see God, and in the distance there is all that is not of God. Evil, death, suffering, and sin are combined together in a place of eternal torments which reek forth into the dominions of humanity. Appearing quickly in succession are Adam's guilt, slavery, starvation and need, war, murder, hate... but this is not all, in the midst of all these pains I see the Lord of all the light enter into the place of humanity, and He ignites it with a purifying flame. Screams of agony are suddenly consumed by an awestruck love, and there I see all people gazing at a great wooden cross.

Then, entering into this world which heaven has touched are legions of black demons. I see Jesus gently, forgetting for a moment His pains, looking at the mothers of men and, consoling them for the thorny path that lies ahead. In His heart He knows a time will come when their children will die in youth, and their men will die in battle, and they will weep with grief; and His heart is filled with compassion. In His heart He sees all of their descendants who will spend eternity in flame, separated forever from love and goodness. With the demon's entrance, a cloak is laid over the eyes of the people and deception and evil frantically seeks to undo the good that God has done. He knows, He blesses them, and then He moves on His journey of pain and love.

I am sitting now in a small green pasture, where my beautiful Shepherd opens the gate. "Come to me, and I will give you life. I am the Good Shepherd, and I know my sheep. I will lay down my life for my sheep, and bring them into the heavenly sheepfold." He picks up His cross, and I follow Him, knowing that He will bring me through fire to paradise.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Seventh Station

V: We adore You, O Christ, and we praise You. (Genuflect)

R: Because, by Your holy cross, You have redeemed the world. (Rise)

V: Consider how the second fall of Jesus under His cross renews the pain in all the wounds of the head and members of our afflicted Lord. (Kneel)

R: My most gentle Jesus, / how many times You have forgiven me; / and how many times I have fallen again and begun again to offend You! / By the merits of this second fall, / give me the grace to persevere in Your love until death. / Grant, that in all my temptations, I may always have recourse to You. / I love You, Jesus, my Love with all my heart; / I am sorry that I have offended You. / Never let me offend You again. / Grant that I may love You always; and then do with me as You will.

(Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be.)

For the sins of His own nation
Saw Him hang in desolation
Till His spirit forth He sent.

"My Master, I shall follow wherever you lead..." I shudder as I hear His fateful words "Before the cock crows, you will deny me three times." I see not Peter's weakness, but I see instead every time that I have promised to follow Him to eternity and then turned around in sin whenever the path becomes too hard. I see my loyalty during prayer, and my disloyalty at work and in the home.

"Judas, you betray your Master with a kiss?" My soul is swept off in a torrent of remorse as before my eyes appears, not Judas' treachery, but all those times when I have said to my Jesus "I love you" at the very same moment as I am offending Him with evil thoughts and hate in my heart.

Now as I watch Him fall, I see His bodily pain doubles and His spiritual pain multiplied by ten as the image of all those who have once loved Him, and then left Him, pass before my eyes. I see His agony of spirit and His interior groaning, and I see His outward fatigue equal last breath of death. I see Him, hardly able to move, rally Himself to go a little farther in the unending misery of the way of the cross. Briefly, I see myself bored as I traverse the way of the cross within the chapel, and He looks at me, just a moment, making known to me how much longer was His passion.

In a whisper, I say the words which my Lord must surely have been thinking: "If it is possible, let this cup pass from me... it is no use, those I love have all turned against me... I am weak, could I not save them by dying now?" But no, my heart speaks the words which must surely follow: "Not my will but thine be done... what greater love is there than to give my life for my sheep? I love each one, I will go on in obedience to your will, Father, and save your children." While still overcome with tears, I begin to understand the depth of this mystery of love which I had not before perceived... a love that loves always, and through every pain and fatigue, even when the love is not returned.

The Mystery of Growth

As I sit in prayer, I realize I do not know how to pray.
As I grow in wisdom, I realize I am not wise.
As I seek God's Face, I realize I have never seen it.
As I learn to love, I realize I have never loved.
As I receive the sacraments, I realize I have never understood.
As I contemplate the Cross, I realize I have never seen His pain.

Who am I to say "I know"? How could I ever truly say that I am "grown in spirit"? The mystery of God is great and wonderful... and I can never insist that I understand. To do so would be expressing my lack of understanding, and to do so would be shutting myself off from ever understanding.

In seeking the Face of God and asking for His guidance, our very ignorance becomes the root of all our knowledge. For who would teach one who feels he has nothing to learn? God fills us only if we ask to be filled... but once we have asked Him to fill us with wisdom and understanding, the Holy Ghost pours into us as if it were a fountain of burning water. We are inebriated and filled with love for Him as we come to greater lengths of understanding.

All our lives we should seek to continue a "period of rapid growth" and never allow our spirits to grow old... For if a spirit grows tired and ceases to seek God, it will find itself shut off from Him and drastically losing its life. God has given us wonderful minds with which we can learn and consider all manner of mysteries... shall we not use these minds to find Him? For this purpose we were created: to know, love, and serve God and be happy with Him for all eternity... is it possible that our intellects are ever meant to leave the rapid stream of seeking and learning that carries us to Him?

If we ask Him to grant us His peace, and make us both satisfied and insatiable in our lack of understanding, we will find wholeness and fulfillment even as we learn. The more intellectually independent we become through our studies and acquired knowledge, the more we must rely on Him to show us things we do not know. He will not disappoint us... if we constantly seek His guidance we will delve further and further into the mystery as long as we live until, in death, we are filled with this mystery.

Dear Jesus, In my ignorance I seek You unceasingly. I do not know how to pray, or how to love, or where I can find You... and as a lost sheep I call to my shepherd to guide me to Himself. Do You not see, my Jesus, that I long to know, love, and serve You perfectly? Do You not see that I long to be filled with this goodness and grace so far beyond my understanding? Do You not see that I seek Your wisdom earnestly, and that I cannot find it? Fill me, dear Jesus, with the chalice of Your love... show Yourself to me, and help me to understand. Give my hands the strength to move in service of You, I beg of You, and put into my heart the capacity to love You. Never let a moment of my life go by in which I do not seek Your face, and allow me to remain small so that I may receive both the blessedness and the sacred suffering of growth as long as I live. Let me always be Your child, my Lord, and guide my feet on the way of peace.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

The Sixth Station

V: We adore You, O Christ, and we praise You. (Genuflect)

R: Because, by Your holy cross, You have redeemed the world. (Rise)

V: Consider the compassion of the holy woman, Veronica. Seeing Jesus in such distress, His face bathed in sweat and blood, she presented Him with her veil. Jesus wiped His face, and left upon the cloth the image of his sacred countenance. (Kneel)

R: My beloved Jesus, / Your face was beautiful before You began this journey; / but, now, it no longer appears beautiful / and is disfigured with wounds and blood. / Alas, my soul also was once beautiful / when it received Your grace in Baptism; / but I have since disfigured it with my sins. / You alone, my Redeemer, can restore it to its former beauty. / Do this by the merits of Your passion; and then do with me as You will.

(Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be.)

Bruised, derided, cursed, defiled
She beheld her tender Child
All with bloody scourges rent.

He is teaching me: "Love God with your whole heart, your whole soul, your whole mind, and all your strength..." I am hardly listening, I am gazing at His face. His face is beautiful and earnest, and I can see Divinity bursting forth from His human eyes. He is telling me to love Him with words, but His face commands me to love Him even more. Who could begin to resist so loving a gaze? He is beseeching me with every movement of His lips to love Him, but in His smile I am swept off my feet with the realization that in this face is life, and without this face I cannot live.

Now images flash before my face: a fist strikes his eye, spittle covers his cheek, the whip slashes his skin, thorns pierce his forehead... the beautiful face is distorted and defiled. But now that it is transformed, I love Him even more. In the pain of His eyes I see a holy desire for love so great that the former beauty of His face no longer attracts my romantic heart, but only this seal of love so intense that it bears all miseries to show its love.

My soul is overwhelmed with delight as He gives to Veronica the gift of His face imprinted on her veil, and I hold it to my heart as I would hold Him if only I was worthy to touch His skin and wipe the blood from His eyes. His face shall be the object of my admiration day and night, and never shall the gaze of my soul be transferred from Him.

Contemplative Heart

Most people, if not all, have a contemplative heart without ever recognizing it. The human person is composed both of a body and a soul, and this soul lives only for the spiritual world where God resides. Some persons with contemplative hearts are called to cloisters, where they may spend their lives in prayer and holy service... but most are called to be contemplatives while living in the world. Their hearts, having all the attributes of a contemplative's heart, are meant to be palaces in which God resides and vehicles through which God radiates His love to others.

There are many ways to define this great mystery of the contemplative heart. Those who are meant to be fertile ground for contemplation, and to find God in deep prayer in the world, have an understanding of the communication within the Mystical Body of Christ. They understand how goodness and prayer is channeled to people near and far equally. Thus, they will often be satisfied with engaging in the spiritual works of mercy, and confident of the ability to console others who they are not close to physically. They will also be able to understand the ways in which people on earth can help the souls in purgatory through prayers and sacrifices, and will be inclined to ask the saints and angels for guidance and protection.

One with a contemplative heart often strives to have a very deep and mystical relationship with God. His prayer is full of love and faith, and he habitually listens for God's response. He sees God in everything... from the people around him to the trees and flowers outside. Because he finds God in so many places and circumstances, he is often prone to be optimistic and to consider his pains as simple. As he practices the beatitudes, he finds in them a sweetness which causes his prayer life to come to a more perfect union with the suffering Christ. His countenance and actions are often perceived to radiate a sense of the spiritual, and he is constantly striving for inward holiness without ever being satisfied.

To have a contemplative heart is, frankly, to have the ability to come to a deep love and relationship with Christ in the midst of the material world. All have this to some extent, but most never reach the full potential of contemplation. If one loves Christ, then his charity is constantly growing and spreading. He loves all persons for the sake of Christ, and will easily come to the point where he would give his life to bring good to any person... whether he knows them or not, whether they are friend or foe, he longs to save their souls. This is the most beautiful form of love, and the only form of love which reflects the love which Christ showed in His Passion.

Because the contemplative heart has such an awareness of the spiritual world, it pines for a heavenly atmosphere. Such a heart longs to be alone with Christ, as in a monastery, and seeks perpetual prayer. But, as I have already noted, not all contemplative hearts are meant for cloisters. The thirst for contemplation can be realized in the world through a living prayer life. The contemplative heart will not be satisfied until it rests in Christ in heaven, but it will find fulfillment by "praying unceasingly." In work, play, etc. such a heart can still find God by offering its every action and dedication to Him and with Him and for love of Him.

By recognizing and responding to spiritual presence, the contemplative heart finds consolation during daily activities. The omnipresence of God, the consideration of the saints, and the guidance of the angels provides a constant oasis to which the heart may retreat in any difficulty. Many contemplative hearts can be distinguished by their habit to call upon God's name in faith several times per day, even per hour.

The contemplative heart will, as I mentioned before, habitually follow the beatitudes. It will constantly strive to radiate Christ's love and goodness through example, and perform many acts of kindness out of charity. Such a heart will seek to connect itself intimately with saints and devotionals, and actively seek holiness. It will recognize the grace that is in the sacraments, and seek them out and receive them often with the intention of being filled with this grace. It will also strive to learn more about Jesus through study and attention to revelation, hoping to, in this way, enhance its spiritual understanding of God. No heart rests until it rests in Christ, so it is important for all souls to seek prayer and intimacy with Christ, but some have an even greater insatiable thirst to hold Christ within them. As you pursue your vocation, examine your own heart... are you called to the greater heights of contemplation?

Friday, March 26, 2010

The Fifth Station

V: We adore You, O Christ, and we praise You. (Genuflect)

R: Because, by Your holy cross, You have redeemed the world. (Rise)

V: Consider how weak and weary Jesus was. At each step He was at the point of expiring. Fearing that He would die on the way when they wished Him to die the infamous death of the cross, they forced Simon of Cyrene to help carry the cross after Our Lord. (Kneel)

R: My beloved Jesus / I will not refuse the cross as Simon did: / I accept it and embrace it. / I accept in particular the death that is destined for me / with all the pains that may accompany it. / I unite it to Your death / and I offer it to You. / You have died for love of me; / I will die for love of You and to please You. / Help me by Your grace. / I love You, Jesus, my Love; / I repent of ever having offended You. / Never let me offend You again. / Grant that I may love You always; and then do with me as You will.

(Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be.)

Can the human heart refrain
From partaking in her pain
In that Mother's pain untold?

I am standing among the disciples of Jesus as He speaks to them. My heart has been heavy, and my soul afflicted, as I considered life's purpose and began to feel that all is useless misery. But then He speaks: "If you would be perfect, sell all you have, and follow me." I receive a revelation of all the burdens I am carrying, and as I drop all my attachments into the hands of Christ, my heart is light and I am consoled. He scatters seeds into the ground, and smiles back at me.

We are sitting alone in the garden again, where I have shared His agony of Spirit many times. I say to Him: "Am I carrying your burden my Jesus? My heart is light and my soul consoled, have I taken upon my shoulders your burden?" He says to me: "My yoke is easy, and my burden light." I see Him now, crushed under the weight of the cross and in the deepest agony, but His heart is radiant with a deep love... now I know, as His physical strength fails Him, that His yoke is easy and His burden light. As I see Simon take a hold of the cross, I hear Jesus whisper "Carry my cross with me, and I will carry it with you."

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Fourth Station

V: We adore You, O Christ, and we praise You. (Genuflect)

R: Because, by Your holy cross, You have redeemed the world. (Rise)

V: Consider how the Son met his Mother on His way to Calvary. Jesus and Mary gazed at each other and their looks became as so many arrows to wound those hearts which loved each other so tenderly (Kneel)

R: My most loving Jesus, / by the pain You suffered in this meeting / grant me the grace of being truly devoted to Your most holy Mother. / And You, my Queen, who was overwhelmed with sorrow, / obtain for me by Your prayers / a tender and a lasting remembrance of the passion of Your divine Son. / I love You, Jesus, my Love, above all things. / I repent of ever having offended You. / Never allow me to offend You again. / Grant that I may love You always; and then do with me as You will.

(Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be.)

Is there one who would not weep,
'whelmed in miseries so deep
Christ's dear Mother to behold.

I am sitting on my heels in the corner of a small house. In the air is the fresh scent of sawdust and it is very warm. I snuggle down a little further into the little dip by the corner in which I am sitting, and watch a beautiful woman in blue as she puts aside a garment she was mending and sits down weakly. Her face, so soft and plush, looks serene... and her dark brown eyes are downcast. She doesn't see him come in, but I do. He is handsome, and his whole being radiates compassion. He has a tender smile playing on his lips as he goes to her and takes her into his arms to comfort her: "You are sad now, but you will be happy and no one will take that happiness away. Mother, you share my pains but there is a greater joy that awaits us..." The woman's eyes, full of agony, gently close and open again with an air of contentment.

Suddenly, I am no longer sitting in the cozy little room, but I am standing in among many people and there is a stench in the air. I see the woman, beautiful, though her clothes are stained with blood and her face is stained with tears. Walking to her was the man, and I could hardly bear the sight! His handsome face is torn and bloody, His shoulders hang low from the weight of a great wooden cross. I could imagine that beneath His clothes was a form writhing with pain, and His feet which scraped along the earth from the burden He was carrying we almost undefinable as all His toes were stuck together and coated with blood and sores. The woman was looking at Him, and I saw her face. She had one single tear still clinging to her eye, and she wiped it away with her veil. In her eyes was the look of the greatest pain, but her mouth opened in a gentle smile. For a moment, their eyes met, and she looked at Him earnestly, almost beseechingly. Her eyes must have been more than he could bear, for He removed one arm from the cross and laid his hand on her face. "Mother" was all he said, but he did not need to say more. He turned his face away, and his next steps were determined.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Third Station

V: We adore You, O Christ, and we praise You. (Genuflect)

R: Because, by Your holy cross, You have redeemed the world. (Rise)

V: Consider the first fall of Jesus. Loss of blood from the scourging and crowing with thorns had so weakened Him that He could hardly walk; and yet He had to carry that great load upon His shoulders. As the soldiers struck Him cruelly, He fell several times under the heavy cross. (Kneel)

R: My beloved Jesus, / it was not the weight of the cross / but the weight of my sins which made You suffer so much. / By the merits of this first fall, / save me from falling into mortal sin. / I love You, O my Jesus, with all my heart; / I am sorry that I have offended You. / May I never offend You again. / Grant that I may love You always; and then do with me as You will.

(Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be.)

Christ above in torment hangs
She beneath beholds the pangs
Of her dying, glorious Son

I was standing at the foundations of a great Temple. It was made of a stone lasting ages, and its halls were filled with an incense that gave witness to its royalty and power. I marveled at the engravings in the wall, depicting different moments in human history: there was Isaac on an alter of sacrifice, David playing a harp, Solomon blessing a Temple... but as I looked, I was surprised to see the next carvings to be a woman in childbirth, a child at play, a man laboring in a carpenter shop, a voice echoing in the desert, a great hand raising valleys and laying low mountains, a cup of water being poured over a Divine Head. As I was still gazing in wonder I became fearfully aware of a great rumbling as the Temple crumpled at my feet. The incense that had perfumed its halls rose up and formed an orb, in which I saw a single tear.

No sooner did I see this tear than it increased into a thousand tears as I saw a woman laying her face on the feet of Jesus. As she poured out her tears on His feet, and anointed them with precious oil, I saw the formerly lovely foot of Christ torn and bloody and covered in wounds. It was as if the sins of the woman had been transferred to those blessed feet.

I then heard a voice in the air say these words: "He was led like a sheep to slaughter," and saw Jesus led roughly away. A chain was around His neck and He was dragged almost off His feet by men with cruel intent. But in His eyes there remained a meekness and beauty, as He manfully struggled to keep up with the pace of the soldiers. In the shadows behind Him were twelve men, fear displaced the love that was in their eyes, and the lips of one were fresh from a kiss. The steps of the Man were determined as His eyes rose to heaven and He mouthed one final blessing to those behind.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Second Station

V: We adore You, O Christ, and we praise You. (Genuflect)

R: Because, by Your holy cross, You have redeemed the world. (Rise)

V: Consider Jesus as He walked this road with the cross on His shoulders, thinking of us, and offering to His Father in our behalf, the death He was about to suffer. (Kneel)

R: My most beloved Jesus, / I embrace all the sufferings You have destined for me until death. / I beg You, by all You suffered in carrying Your cross, / to help me carry mine with Your perfect peace and resignation. / I love You, Jesus, my love; / I repent of ever having offended You. / Never let me separate myself from You again. / Grant that I may love You always; and then do with me as You will.

(Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be.)

O, how sad and sore depressed
Was that Mother highly blessed
Of the sole Begotten One

It was nearing evening as I stood there that day. I was standing on the same soft earth that had been trampled over and over by people traveling to Jerusalem for Passover. No doubt the moon was appearing above clouds touched with red, and the air was light and filled with lovely scents. But I noticed none of these things, my attention was fixed on Jesus. I was watching Him cry, as His friend Lazarus had died. As the tears fell from His soft eyes I realized that He was truly a man who loved His friends. Moments later I saw His face, still radiating sorrow, call Lazarus from the tomb. All around us were astounded, but my whole attention was fixed on the words His mouth was beautifully forming: "I am the resurrection and the life." This man, I knew, would never die... and no one who had ever loved Him would die either.

Almost immediately I saw Him... kneeling with his head laid against a stone. Embracing Him were the wings of an angel, and a great dark fell upon the world. His eyes rose and He gazed at a star, and as I looked I saw Adam biting into the apple, Cain slaughtering Abel, men worshiping idols, the Israelites shouting at Moses, women engrossed in adultery, children filled with hatred... but more disturbing than all this was the image of myself in the star. I was standing in my room, screaming at someone, and that someone had the face of Christ. I wanted to fly into the star and knock myself to the floor as I saw my hand strike Him in the face and my mouth tell Him from the depths of my heart that I hate Him. Within a moment I was on my knees and tears flowed from my eyes.

But it was not over... I could now see in this star a whip, a crown of thorns, a cross, nails, screaming crowds, angry fists... the sight was too much for me to bear and I lowered my eyes, only to hear with my ears the painful words: "If it is possible, let this cup pass from me." My eyes were drawn again to the star, and this man was walking joyfully through the streets and embracing every man. He was standing on a cloud in glory and all His friends were bowing before Him and adoring Him. "But not my will but thine be done," with these words I saw a father raise his hand in blessing and disappear into another nightmare of sin. I cried as I stared into the agonized eyes of this Man who could not keep from longing to bring all these sinners to His heart.

Monday, March 22, 2010

The First Station

V: We adore You, O Christ, and we praise You. (Genuflect)

R: Because, by Your holy cross, You have redeemed the world. (Rise)

V: Consider how Jesus Christ, after being scourged and crowned with thorns, was unjustly condemned by Pilate to die on the cross. (Kneel)

R: My adorable Jesus, / it was not Pilate; / no, it was my sins that condemned You to die. / I beseech You, by the merits of this sorrowful journey, / to assist my soul on its journey to eternity./ I love You, beloved Jesus; / I love You more than I love myself. / With all my heart I repent of ever having offended You. / Grant that I may love You always; and then do with me as You will.

(Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be.)

Through her heart, His sorrow sharing
All His bitter anguish bearing
Now at length the sword has passed

I stood at the gates of the Garden of Paradise. In front of me was a beautiful woman and handsome man, both of whom were conversing with a light through a tree from the mouth of a cave. Curling in the branches of the tree was a large snake. I heard a magnificent voice say: "I will put enmities between thee and the women, between thy seed and her seed, she shall crush your head and you shall lie in wait for her heal." With this the snake fell to the ground and hid in the roots of the tree.

A moment later it was no longer a garden before me, but a man with a prophetic face. He looked old and worn with wisdom, and yet the same light of grace that had illuminated the tree was in his eyes. He spoke these words: "But he was wounded for our iniquities, he was bruised for our sins: the chastisement of our peace was upon him, and by his bruises we are healed." My heart quickened as I saw the pieces begin to take shape... but no sooner had I recognized a dove above the wise man's head, than I was watching a man, alight with purity, sitting on a mount and speaking these words: "Blessed are the Poor in Spirit..."

As I looked at this man, I realized that this was the lamb who would pay the debt and crush the serpent. This was the man who would be wounded for our iniquities and bruised for our sins, and save us from fire and death. But now he spoke lovingly, and His voice was young and childlike as He tenderly called the people surrounding Him blessed. My heart saw his arms open wide enough to contain all of these people, as if He was a father opening to embrace His children or a shepherd opening the door of His sheepfold.

Saturday, March 20, 2010


God is perfect good. He is all merciful, all just, all wise, all holy, all powerful, all loving... every good is combined wholly and entirely in Him, and the good we see on earth is a mere reflection of His sublime Majesty. God can be likened to a perfect light, and likewise, all that is not of God can be likened to a darkness defying this brightness. Therefore every sin and every evil is as spittle in the Face of the Almighty, and brings Him great grief. He would not feel grief, but only just anger, if He did not love us... but He loves us, and has loved us for all eternity, with the greatest and most powerful love. Therefore every wrongdoing by which we oppose Him and bring suffering upon ourselves spurns this love. This is what brought Jesus to tears in the Agony of the Garden, and this is why the weight of the Passion was so intense for the Son of Man.

If this is true, does it not follow that contrition and reconciliation make up a substantial part of our spiritual life? Indeed, we are in great need of forgiveness and must be constantly receptive to the mercies of Christ. Did not He say "those who are forgiven more, love more"? Let us not then overlook the horror of even one small venial sin, and, meekly offering our weaknesses to Christ, let therefore be disposed in spirit to receive His blessings and His care.

Often times, as human beings, we focus on the tangibility of our guilt. Are we guilty, or no? What material sins have we committed? Are we really that bad? Although it is important to be aware of sin, and to make honest examination of conscience and humbly confess our faults, sin by sin, it is also important for us to be aware of our own sinfulness and unworthiness at all times, even when we seem to ourselves to be free from sin. This awareness helps us to identify imperfection in ourselves and to realize the full truth of the biblical phrase "even the just man sins seven times per day." This is not to say that we do not accept God's mercy and forgiveness or engage in scruples... rather, this is to say that we not only accept His mercy, but we accept that we ourselves are undeserving and that only His grace has made us worthy to receive these blessings.

The sorrow that we should feel for sin that is so hateful to God is called Contrition. The Baltimore Catechism identifies two forms of this sorrow: contrition and attrition. Attrition is sorrow for sin because of it is distasteful or because we are afraid of punishment. Contrition, however, is the more perfect sorrow for sin. This is sorrow because sin is hateful to God and causes Him to shed tears in His love. The most perfect contrition focuses on God Himself, and is sorry for sin for His sake alone. Does this not, then, indicate that we should look upon sin as God does? Does this not mean that we should don the eyes of the Eternal Light when looking upon this evil? Truly, if we were to do this to perfection, we would not be able to bear the sight of the ugliness of sin.

Mother Mary Francis describes mourning as the "proper reaction to penancing truth." Mankind has fallen from God's grace and engaged in the destructiveness of evil, thus bringing upon themselves the consequences of ungodliness... sorrow, fear, suffering, and death. These are realities, and meek acceptance of these truths brings us the blessings of strength to bear them, and disposes us to be healed. Indeed, this acceptance and perseverance in overcoming the grossness of sin is a great display of faith, hope, and courage. Rather than falling victim to the deception of sin, one who sees sin for what it is has eyes to see what is good.

Truly, he who does this is blessed. One who recognizes evil in this way is poor in spirit, for he does not claim for himself greatness or righteousness in his recognition of his fallen humanity. He is meek and claims nothing for himself, knowing God to be the only worthy landlord, and thus he is in free possession of all creation as God's son and heir. He longs for justice and peace, for these things are precious to the man who has seen the distastefulness of evil and the sweetness of good. He is merciful, for he sees that he, who is unworthy of mercy, has been shown Divine mercy. He is pure of heart and willingly suffers persecution for God's sake because, in identifying sin, he guards himself from its horror with every human strength and divine grace.

The consciousness of sin leads us to understand that it is not only a great evil, but brings with it deadly consequences. I once heard a priest describe our spirit as a board, which the sin of Adam has blackened with exposure to evil. Even after the board has been renewed in baptism, a stain remains in which the effects of original sin reside; mainly, inclination towards sin, susceptibility to sin, suffering, and death. These effects make our free will lean towards evil from a very early age, and give us the desire and free ability to engage in evil ourselves. Each sin we commit is like a nail in this board and, though it is removed in Absolution during the Sacrament of Reconciliation, it leaves a hole which must be filled. These sores in ourselves painful and retain within them impurities that make us unable to stand serenely before the good face of God.

Christ, through His passion, has done what no man can do and has removed wall that separates our despairing human nature from the God of all good. His holy oblation has appeased the Divine Wrath and made the loving embrace of God readily available to us. Each person must follow His example in order to walk the path that leads to eternal life. "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." Each of us must find healing for the impurities in ourselves by taking up the Cross of Christ and, through this participation and joint offering with Christ, enter into eternal purity. For if we do not participate in this sacrifice and show God that we love Him and desire to be united to Him in good, how could we presume to enter into His light? Would we not be a repugnance to Him, and He to us, if we were the dark and He was the light? But indeed God's love readily identifies our wish for good and by merit of His Holy Son's offering brings us happily into His embrace in the beautiful gesture of a Father welcoming His child. He is calling, and if we answer this call and follow His way He will forget all our sins and make us white as snow, accepting us into Heaven as if we had never before sinned against Him.

Friday, March 19, 2010


St. Joseph is an example to us of deep courage, immense faith, quiet piety, and committed fatherhood. He is one of deep responsibility and is a living example of the beatitudes. There is a great deal we can learn from the foster father of Christ, and it is well summed up in one word: righteousness. The Bible describes St. Joseph as a "righteous man," but says little else about him. Church tradition and personal reasoning, however, lead us to a far greater understanding of this great saint of the Catholic Church.

Joseph is known first of all for his divinely appointed office of foster father to the Son of God. Indeed, caring for Mary and her Child was St. Joseph's great work on earth. For Joseph, the conception of the child and circumstances of his birth required great faith and fortitude. On the word of an angel he took Mary into his home and claimed the child as his own, giving him the name Jesus. When Jesus was born, Joseph was forced to take his wife and her child to Egypt to flee from harms way. His faith in God and meekness of soul were perfect, and thus he returned to Nazareth to raised the child that God had miraculously put in his capable hands.

Some little known authors have described St. Joseph as great, and indeed he was great. The years in Nazareth no doubt brought much work for Joseph as he serenely cared for his wife and child. "He was a righteous man," yes, he was a man who was patient, persevering, and honest. He was an example to the Christ-Child as He grew up. He was tender and supporting of his wife, and as he worked in his little carpenter shop he never slacked in his responsibility to his family.

Joseph was courage personified. To accept this great mystery on the word of an angel and continue to embrace it until his quiet death years later certainly exemplifies the greatest kind of silent courage. The beatitudes were manifest in him... he was just, meek, peace loving, merciful, poor in spirit, and blessed in suffering. He was not these things openly or greatly, and even today is given little credit for his immense holiness, but he was indeed the embodiment of Christ's teachings on the mount. Could it have been any other way? Indeed God chose a noble man to raise His Son.

St. Therese of the Child Jesus is well known for her little way... the philosophy of remaining as a child in persevering fulfillment of God's will. She showed us that each moment of each day can be offered to God in love and be worth much more to Him than otherwise. She showed how following the beatitudes in meekness and humility of spirit brings greater spiritual joy as the realization of God's goodness dawns on us. Certainly this very inspiration is apparent in the life of St. Joseph, who was like a child in attention to God's wishes. In his life we can find the secret to fulfillment and beauty in cleanliness of heart. He was manifestly blessed with the ability to see God in his cleanliness of heart and virginity of soul, and his purity and noble virtue received the joy of Mary, his holy bride. Let us then ask him to help our lives to be living examples of the beatitudes.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Do Not Turn Me Away (Journal)

Before the soldiers entered with Him,
She was at the pillar.
And when they entered, only He saw,
The face of His young daughter.
With one hand, He closed her eyes,
As she knelt down near Him.
His groans she heard,
His blood she felt,
But the whip she could not see.
(Flower Petals)

Dear Jesus,
You shield my eyes from the horror and brutality of your passion. You cause me to be unable to understand the depth of your pain and destitution because it would overcome me with grief. My Beloved, I do not want to be guarded from this, I want to suffer this pain with you and come to the full realization of its intensity. Do you not see that my heart longs to be yours? Do you not see that I long to be tormented with you, so that I may be your consolation? Your very presence is all the strength I need, allow me to lift some of the burden of loneliness from your weary heart. My Jesus, I love you and wish not only to be united to you in your joys, but in your sufferings as well.

Please give me the grace to understand the pain that you suffered, which my mind cannot fathom on its own. This pain of body, yes, and spirit. Thus will I come closer to you in love and offer greater love and sacrifice for my neighbor. My Jesus, this is the supernatural joy I desire! Let my meditations on your love no longer be empty but filled with the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit. I will spend day and night meditating you until your reality overcomes and fulfills me. This I ask humbly, with the sole intention of giving to you the love, consolation, and pleasure I long to give.

Your wisdom, love, and goodness is infinite... do not shield me from the beauties of Yourself, even if to be exposed directly to them would give me some pains, I know that if it was yours it is nothing less than perfection of spirit and fulfillment of body. I want to be your servant, yes, and will follow in your footsteps wherever they may lead. Like a lamb I will only panic if, even for a moment, I am not at your side. I will only rejoice if, in my desperate following of you, I run headfirst into the thorns that love deigns to tread barefoot. Do you not take pity on your little one who wants only to be with you? Would you allow my weaknesses to keep me from you? Certainly I am not strong enough to fight the battles that you have fought for me... but at least allow me to try with the strength of your company.

My Jesus, to read about your passion only brings tears to my eyes and inconsolable sorrow to my heart. I thought you promised me consolation? Did you not say that I will be sad, and then will receive a joy that no one would take from me? Why then would you allow me to die in my mourning of your death? The greatest trials of my life has been as fly bites and my greatest spiritual troubles have been as slight discontent in the face of the pain you received from just one sin, or just one thorn. You read my heart, you know I fear pain and suffering, so do you not see that it is for love of you that I would gladly endure it? You know my mind, yes, you know that my very nature denounces the stupidity of my request... and yet can you not see that my soul longs more to love you than any physical hindrance could refuse? Know, therefore, that your little lamb could not be separate from you even for the worst moments of your passion nor the sweetest moments of your joys... I must be with you always, do not turn me away.

Why I Wake Up (Poem)

Again the morning bells are rung,
The dark turns into gray.
Again the morning hymns are sung,
To start a new long day.

I turn and toss ever wearily in bed,
Not willing to welcome the day.
I recalled then what a wise man said,
"When you wake up each morn say:

'I have come from restful slumber,
In the dark I laid.
Of sleep and death I was a member,
Till my body's debt I paid.

'My ears could not hear,
Nor my eyes gaze,
Except on dreams, far but near,
Through a weary haze.

'Now I hear song, and precious birds,
My eyes adorned with sunlight.
No dreams could quite equal birds,
Nor could they equal sight.

'A reality now my senses perceive,
Consciousness soothes right.
It's offenses quickly from my mind cleave,
As no dark shadows give me flight.

'Oh God has given light of day,
So we might live for Him.
A time for slumber gives way,
To prayers and sacred hymn.

'Let us all rise, work, and play,
In life's perfect rhythm,
Giving to Him this new May,
Of our eternal heaven.'"

Now I wake with perfect joy,
Savoring the light.
The globe, the work, they're my new toy,
I praise the day and chase the night.

Monday, March 15, 2010


The virtue fortitude is one of the most important virtues for a Christian in this world where peace seems a rare pleasure. Temptations and persecution make it continually difficult to live a good life as we encounter around every turn the degrading effects of sin. Fortitude helps us to bear up under physical suffering and temptation, but it also helps us to bear up in great spiritual difficulties in, perhaps, an even more prominent way.

Everyone suffers from doubt and depression at some point in his life, and fortitude is necessary to maintain peace and tranquility during these times. By steadily clinging to our faith in God, and remembering the purpose for which we have been put on earth, we can bear these inner trials and overcome them.

But fortitude goes even further than giving us personal strength to persevere in our trials, it also helps us to continue giving to others in the midst of our sufferings. One who has fortitude will show great Charity to his neighbor especially when he himself is in the most distress. There is an almost supernatural nobility in this God-given virtue, and one that every Christian should pursue with dignity and love.

Save Me From Indecision (Journal Entry)

I am the way, and the truth, and the life.
No man cometh to the Father, but by me.
Be not afraid, I go before you always,
come, follow me, and I will give you peace.

Sweet Angel,
You are good to me, and guide me in the ways of peace. You show me what to do, and teach me the grace of industriousness. Please save me from indecision. Let my trust in Jesus be always pure, and let me go to you when I do not know what to do. Allow me to always work and pray to Christ without ceasing, and to always do that which pleases Him most. Let not a moment be wasted when I could give God greater glory through quick and certain reply to His calling. Help me to realize when my spirit is in need of healing, and when my hands are in need of work, and thus to remain holy by identifying evils within myself and rooting them out.

Let me never be given into laziness and slothfulness, or apathy of spirit and depression of soul. Let me, rather, to always actively pursue the greater good as if there were ever a fire burning in my heart. Let my mind not be confused, but rather have faith in those things that my intelligence cannot reach. Thus let my life and decisions exemplify a great faith in Christ, and my words be obvious fruits of the advice which I seek from you. Let me always be simple in acceptance, and when I am undecided, let me seek in simplicity your decision.

Yes, I am incapable of great things, and my own ambition for perfection laughs in the face of my diminutive intelligence. My weakness of body scorns the longing of my spirit for industriousness. My fear of the unknown, and my shrinking from those things I do not understand are in constant combat with my desire to know Jesus, the greatest Mystery. My timid clinging to you and My Lord for answers strangely contradicts the determination of my heart. And yet, to me the paradoxes of my being are only the result of my being both body and soul. The things that one part of my human nature does not understand are summed up by the other, and the things that one part of my nature fears are embraced by the other. For the ordinary in me has been made extraordinary by the touch of Christ.

My dear angel, I thank you for all the help you give me. By being my constant friend and companion you have freed me from many dangers and brought me close to Christ, and these kindnesses I could never repay. You have granted me permission to come to you in my indecision, and to seek from you solutions. You have offered in place of my slow mind your own wisdom and mind, swift to know the will of God. You have assured me that Christ, if ever in my thoughts, will help me in this world that I do not understand. Indeed, I need only think of Him and I know what to do. It was only with your help that I was able to live my life to the fullest thus far, working and studying and bearing all the responsibilities my person could hold in swift succession. With you to whisper in my ear I will live my life from moment to moment without fear and with constant willingness to please God in all that I do until, one day, when I can rest in Him forever.

A Life of Promises

"How good God is to Israel,
to those who are pure of heart.
Yet my feet came close to stumbling,
my steps had almost slipped,
for I was filled with envy of the proud,
when I saw how the wicked prosper."
(Psalm 73)

All our lives we make and receive promises. Perhaps our father will promise us a sum of money, our mother will promise us a fine dinner, our brother will promise to help us carry something, our boss will promise us a vacation or raise... sometimes the promises are negative... perhaps our father promises to take away our keys if we come home late at night, or our mother promises to ground us from computer time if we should fail to do a chore, maybe our friend at school promises to beat us up if we don't do his homework, or our boss promises to take away our vacation time if we spend more than two weeks at home sick. These promises are like prophesies, they foretell something that will happen in the future as a result of some behavior. Although these promises are made to us every day, even the wisest of us often do not take them seriously... because promises can be broken, and to put all your hopes in an uncertain promise would be a fault both of the present and the future.

During our pilgrimage here on earth, we rely heavily on God's promises. He promised that He does exist, He promised His love, He promised His guidance, He promised wisdom, wealth, and happiness for the pure of heart and death, destitution, and destruction for those who are evil. Unlike the promises of man, God never fails to keep His promises. For those who have heard and accepted God's promises, each choice of every day is based on faith in His promise. We choose to follow the commandments because we are thus promised peace of mind. We choose to do good works because we are promised a large reward. We choose to love and honor God because we are promised eternal happiness with Him if we do so.

Sometimes, however, we look on the promises of God as we look on those of man. We lose sight of His gifts, betrayed by our own bodies who seek present satisfaction. The pains and sufferings of this life cause us to seek relief, not in spirit but in body.
For when evil shall be sweet in his mouth, he will hide it under his tongue. (Job 20:12) The wickedness of man is hidden under the shades of pleasure and relief, but none have sought these things freely and died maintaining this same pleasure and relief. Rather, God's promises have always shown themselves, either before or after our lives on earth. Evil brings only pain and desolation, and only good brings joy and relief from pain.

Moment after moment, day after day, the choices we make are based either on prudence and faith in God or imprudence and impatience in His promises. Let us therefore read with joy His promises, trusting that they will be fulfilled if we have faith; for God's promises are more certain than the rising of the sun each morning.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Prodigal Son

When reading the parable of the Prodigal Son, one comes to the realization of how much God really loves us. Truly, there could be no greater love than that which one feels for a loved one in danger. God feels the greatest sorrow when we choose to do evil and destroy ourselves with our sins, and there is no person that He does not long to hold to His heart. Can you imagine the joy He must feel at each soul's conversion? Jesus attempts to describe this in the parables of the Prodigal Son, Lost Sheep, and Widow's Mite, but words could not explain the love with which God receives us.

It was difficult for the brother in this parable to understand his father's joy at the return of his son. The prodigal son had sinned grievously against God and his father, and yet he was still received with open arms. Jesus decided with every step of His Passion to save each and every soul. Even souls He knew in His heart would be lost, even souls who would die in their sins, even souls who would despise His love and disgustingly spurn Him again and again, all these He saved through love and did not relieve Himself of even one of these soul's burdens. So great is His love, then, that those who are reconciled to Him are looked upon by Him with only love and peace, and He shows not even the slightest repugnance at being eternally united with a soul who has sinned against Him.

I have often wished that I could have given Jesus this joy, by having been lost and then found and converted. It was then that I realized with humility that if "even the just man sins seven times a day", then I could be guilty of seventy times seven sins daily. Each day we are again forgiven and accepted by God. As many times as we realize our faults and promise to correct them we make a conversion of heart and, like the prodigal son, are received with much joy by Jesus who loves us so much.

Let us then decide to undergo conversion of heart and be reconciled to Him. Every night as we examine our consciences we should again experience the repentance and reuniting with the Father that the parable of the prodigal son exemplifies, and bring God this joy.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Blessed Are The Merciful

God is a God of love, one who values love above any other virtue. St. Paul said that if he has all virtues and all powers and all good things, but does not have Charity, he has nothing at all. If God so values love, does it not follow that He would value mercy? God, the Almighty King of Heaven and Earth, forgives our sins by the Blood of His own Son and strives to receive us into His loving eternal embrace with a compassion unknown to man.

Even at our birth, though not guilty of great crimes, we are far from deserving any of the gifts which God has bestowed on us. As soon as we have reached the age of reason we are guilty of far more. Even the just man sins seven times per day. We do not know the extent of our faults, but we know that we have hurt and despised God's love many times and done very wicked things to hurt Him and His children. We have certainly disobeyed many, or all, of the laws given to us by Christ and resisted the guidance He has given us. Day by day He calls us to prayer, and as many times as He calls we refuse. But even in the face of this infidelity of His creatures God seeks only to bring them back to the embrace of His love.

If God were to punish each of our sins we would be beaten down and die from the very magnitude of our crimes, but God is a God of mercy and forgiveness. He knows that we are weak and ignorant, and unable to deserve this love which He longs to give us. For this reason, in the greatest act of mercy, He came down to earth and suffered and died for our sins, a complete and acceptable holocaust to God for the wickedness of men. If the God of all good has such mercy and forgiveness on each of us, if He is so loving that He caresses to His heart even the greatest of sinners at a single sign of repentance, then does it not follow that He would ask us to have mercy on our neighbor?

Jesus said "love, as I have loved you." That is, love wholly and completely all people, even the most wicked. If we imitate Christ in love as He has asked us to, then we would be willing to give our lives for those who have done us the greatest wrongs. If we love as Christ has asked us to, then we not only forgive, but love without restraint all who have done us wrong. In thus doing our hearts are free of hate and can receive the love and mercy of Christ. For how could He accept to His loving bosom one who has the black scars of hate in his heart? Is it not the greatest sign of hypocrisy to beg God's forgiveness and leave those who have offended us unforgiven?

But mercy extends even further than forgiveness. God has compassion on the least of men. Those who are poor and suffering and mourning move Him to pity. His love for them causes Him not only to have mercy, but to console them. When Jesus came to earth He was compassion personified, healing those who were ill with the greatest tenderness. Does it not follow that God would ask us to have pity on those who are suffering? To console our neighbor with the greatest love and care? To give to even great sinners the gentlest compassion?

"Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy." Truly, these words of Christ show how great is His loving nature. Listen to Him and, through your mercy to your neighbor, come to love Him with a pure heart.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Devotion to the Holy Face

Jesus' face, so afflicted for our sins, is a perfect symbol of His immense love for us. Jesus told Sr. Maria Pierina that He wished His Holy Face to be better honored and that those who honor it console Him and receive an outpouring of His Divine Love. Here is a list of the promises He has made to those who honor His Holy Face, as they are given to Sr. Mary of St. Peter.

1. "Our lord promised me that He would imprint His Divine likeness upon the souls of those who honor the features of His Face."

2. "By My Holy Face you will work wonders!"

3. "By My Holy Face you will obtain the conversion of many sinners."

4. "Nothing that you ask in virtue of the Holy Face will be refused you. Oh, if only you knew how pleasing is the sight of My Face to My Father."

5. "Just as, in an earthly kingdom, money which is stamped with the picture of the sovereign or ruling executive of the country procures whatever one desires to purchase, so, likewise, in the Kingdom of Heaven, you shall obtain all that you desire by offering the coin of My precious humanity, which is My adorable Face."

6. "Our Lord assured me that all persons who would apply themselves to this Work of Reparation to His Holy Face would perform the same service in His behalf as that which the saintly Veronica had performed."

7. "I will give you My adorable Face, and each time that you present it to My Father, My mouth will be open to plead your cause."

8. "In proportion to the care you take in making reparation to My Face, disfigured by blasphemies, I will take care of yours, disfigured by sin. I will imprint My image on it and render it as beautiful as when it was washed in the waters of Baptism."

9. "Then Our Lord promised me that all who defended His cause in the Work of Reparation, whether by their words, their prayers or by their writing, He would Himself defend before His Eternal Father, and that He would give them His Kingdom. Then it seemed to me that Our Lord urged me to extend this promise in His Name to His priests, who through a crusade of preaching would advance the cause of Reparation.
"As for His spouses who would strive to honor and wipe His Holy Face in a spirit of atoning for blasphemies, Our Lord promised that at their death He would purify the face of their souls by effacing the stains of sin, and that He would restore to them their original beauty."

Is not this loving desire of our savior one which we, who love Him, should run to fulfill? Are not these magnanimous promises reason enough to spend hours contemplating Him each day? Think of all the horrible things His dear face must have undergone... He was hit, spit upon, and thorns pierced His Sacred Head. His face, so beautiful before, was torn and bleeding during His holy Passion. Below is the chaplet of the Holy Face, which I hope you will have the opportunity to use in Adoration of His Precious Features. The title is linked to the original source, where you can find more information.

Holy Face Title

for the Triumph of the Church and the downfall of Her Enemies

The little chaplet of the Holy Face has for its object, the honoring of the 5 senses of Our Lord, Jesus Christ, and of entreating God for the triumph of His Church.

This chaplet is composed of a medal and 39 beads; 6 of which are large and 33 small, with a medal of the Holy Face. It is recommended that it be recited frequently to obtain from God, by means of the Holy Face of His well beloved Son, the downfall of His enemies.

The cross recalls to us the mystery of our redemption. Make the sign of the Cross, with the Cross, repeating this invocation:

'O God, incline unto my aid.
O lord, make haste to help me'.
Then say one 'Glory be to the Father'.

The 33 small beads represent the 33 years of the mortal life of Our Lord on earth. The first 30 call to mind the 30 years of His private life, and are divided into 5 groups, with the intention of honoring the 5 senses of touch, hearing, sight, smell, and the taste of Jesus. They have their seat, principally, in the Holy Face and render homage to all the sufferings which Our Lord endured in His Face, through each one of His senses. The last 3 small beads call to mind the 3 years of public life of Our Saviour, and have as their object, the honoring of all the wounds of His Adorable Face.

Each group is preceded by a large bead. On this bead, reflect on the sense of Jesus, or the wounds of His Face, and recite 1 'Glory be to the Father' and the phrase, 'My Jesus, mercy'.

On each small bead, say:

'Arise, O Lord, and let Thy enemies be scatter, and that hate Thee flee from before Thy Face'.

To end, the 'Glory be to the Father' is repeated 7 times, in honor of the 7 words of Jesus upon the Cross, and the 7 dolors of the Immaculate Virgin. When ending the chaplet, say on the medal:

'O God, our Protector, look on us and cast Thy eyes upon the Face of Thy Christ'.

The Catechism's Purpose

"Who is God? God is the Supreme Being, infinitely perfect,
Who made all things and keeps them in existence."
(Baltimore Catechism)

The Catechism presents truth, both revealed and learned through reason, so that our minds may be edified and come to greater belief and understanding. The Catechism answers questions which most rational human minds, by merit of their bodily and spiritual nature, are prompted to ask.

In the Catechism the meaning of life and death, the purpose of life on earth, the coming of the Savior, and the purpose of His Church are made clear. Man was not created to live in ignorance, but rather to share in the great wisdom of God. In eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge, however, man's intellect was thrown into confusion by the deception of evil. Now, the journey of life makes educating the mind, and forming the conscience carefully, necessary.

Man cannot live on bread alone, the teachings and promises of Christ are necessary for our existence. Our spirit longs for Christ and can only thrive then the Lord of the spiritual world promises life for the soul. Thus, the teachings of the Church presented in the Catechism are among the basic needs of the human's thirst for knowledge. The Catholic's intellect should function based on these simple truths, and thus reach the heights of wisdom, prayer, and understanding which only those who seek God can know.

I will go into more detail about the truths presented in the Catechism later... but it is important to understand that we are not alone in our search for truth. God knows that we seek truth, and He offers it to us through the Church. If today you hear His voice, harden not y
our hearts. Seek His truth in Scripture, the Catechism, and the teachings of Christ and you will find your need satisfied.

The Little Plant (Poem)

A precious seed,
Hidden in the womb.
Growing steadily,
Preparing to bloom.

Beautiful and sweet,
A tiny green seedling.
Born from its chest,
Of God's precious ring.

Growing and nourished,
By Heaven's delicate food.
A young budding flower,
Begins to make its bloom.

Firm and strong,
Loveliness in prime of strife.
The little flower, carefully caressed,
Is moved to its new life.

A soil sweet,
Where rain falls clear.
Its roots stretch wide,
The beloved is near.

It's leaves fresh in the sun,
It's bloom bright and warm,
St. Francis' little plant,
Lives now with the Son.

The Priviledge of Suffering

"The greatest suffering is in not being permitted to suffer."
(St. Colette)

Indeed, to suffer with Jesus for His sake and the sake of others is the greatest privilege. Who can love Him and not wish to share His pains as well as His joys? Through our suffering and faith, we console and come near to Christ in His trials. We relate to Him in the great work of His humanity: His Passion. Can we expect to know Him more than we know Him when we know His sorrow?

Through suffering we grow closer to Christ in love, for there is no greater love than that which suffers and dies for a friend. We follow the beatitudes which Jesus sweetly taught us more fully in our sufferings, and imitate the perfect Lamb who was led "like a sheep to slaughter" and patiently and lovingly bore the greatest affliction for us. We empathize with the poor, and share with them the blessings of meekness and poverty and patience. Through suffering we earn the right to call creation family, and, with the birds and trees and animals of all kinds, praise God in both the strength and weaknesses of our nature as we learn to rely on His Holy Providence.

The merits of suffering are endless, giving us the opportunity to show our love of God and neighbor in a truly extraordinary way. By suffering heroically we can help those who will not help themselves, and work for their conversion, presenting their redeemed souls as gifts to the God of love. By our willingness to suffer even the greatest pains we can show greater Charity to our neighbor and greater forgiveness to great sinners; reconciling ourselves with our enemies with a peace worthy of Jesus Himself.

The greatest love, then, embraces suffering as Christ embraced the Cross, because in it is found love deeper than joy. A love that would suffer all things for the sake of righteousness. A love that would live a million lives and die a million deaths to save a single soul. A love that thirsts for Christ and flourishes in sanctity, nurturing virtue and grace. This love is a love gained and strengthened through sorrow.